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Worker Shortage May Mute Christmas Cheer

Many businesses continue to face labor shortages.

Businesses across the board have had hiring challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns sent millions of workers home.

In 2021, employers added an unprecedented 3.8 million jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That number is offset by more than 3 million fewer Americans in the labor force compared to February 2020.

Many businesses, however, continue to face labor shortages. That could make the holidays less happy for retailers hoping for strong Christmas sales.

Executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. predicted retailers will add 680,000 workers during the 2022 holiday season, down from the 700,000 the firm predicted last year.

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth has endured significant worker shortages since the pandemic began.

“Bronner’s has struggled over the last few years to find enough staff to fill our seasonal positions,” said Crissy L. Dutcher, personnel manager for the company. “The last two seasons we did not hit our goals and were running a 100-plus staff member deficit throughout our complex each year, but we made it through.”

Dutcher said Bronner’s is starting the 2022 season in a better position in staffing and more people are applying for jobs there.

“However, the reality is that we will probably still be running in a staffing deficit compared to the pre-2020 years,” she explained. “I do not anticipate our deficit will be as high as it was the past two seasons.”

Dutcher said Bronner’s gives its staffers an opportunity to advance within the company before making outsider hires.

“When we start looking to fill seasonal positions, we start to hire outside of the store in April or May,” Dutcher said. “The first positions we are looking to fill are seasonal ornament artists, penners and receiving staff. We hire ornament artists and penners that early because of the amount of time it takes to get them trained before their work is able to be sold to customers.”

Retail giant Amazon is creating more than 150,000 permanent and seasonal roles in the U.S. to maintain delivery demands, according to an Amazon spokesperson.

“Amazon is a dynamic business, and we’re constantly adjusting and evaluating hiring needs … updating our hiring process to make finding jobs at Amazon as quick and easy as possible,” the spokesperson said. “Every year we see a significant amount of people who come back to work for Amazon around the holidays as seasonal employees.”


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