SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTGS) — Chris Clark, The Georgia Chamber of Commerce president stopped in Savannah as part of his statewide tour to talk about the economic outlook for 2022 and beyond.
According to Clark, the national labor shortage is the biggest hurdle for Georgia's economy.
“I think in Georgia’s economy, overwhelmingly it is this issue of labor shortage," Clark said.
Right now, Clark said there is one applicant for every three open jobs in Georgia, and there are a variety of factors contributing to this problem including early retirement and resignations onset by the pandemic, a decline in birth rates, and a stricter immigration policy.
“The last administration in Washington, they reduced the number of legal immigrants that could come into the United States," said Clark. "We used to get about three to four million a year that would come in to offset those men and women that retired or were still being educated. When you reduce that number, we end up three million fewer legal immigrants in America today than we had three or four years ago. So, the current administration has said they will increase those visas, but they haven’t employed the resources to move those men and women through the pipeline.”
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Clark said the U.S. will have six million more jobs to fill in 2030. In order to fill those jobs, he said employers need to offer competitive wages and benefits, more flexible work environments and engage in outreach at the high school and university levels.
For young workers, Clark said this is a great time to be entering the workforce, and they are prioritizing jobs that offer flexibility through remote or hybrid models.
“In 2030, 70% of the workforce are going to be hybrid," said Clark, "and if you want to hire young men and women, they want a better balance of life.”
Moving forward, Clark said employers are going to have to get more creative with their recruitment and retention efforts to remain competitive in the bid for workforce talent.