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SBJ Economic Growth Survey: Publisher's Note

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It was no surprise when Springfield Business Journal’s 2021 Economic Growth Survey indicated a labor shortage across all industry sectors. This is a problem we’ve been aware of for years and one that was only intensified by COVID-19. What has changed, however, is exactly who is absent from the workforce and, consequently, what employers are doing about it.

In SBJ’s third forum discussion on the data, business leaders from across the community brought the numbers to life by sharing what they mean and how they have manifested within their own organizations. That “meeting of the minds” illustrated some new challenges and some creative solutions. You will see a continuation of that discussion in this special print edition. You will read about the generational differences that exist in today’s workforce and the differing set of expectations each has in finding the right employment fit. You will get an in-depth look at the shifting gender makeup of the current workforce following the exodus of a disproportionate number of women during the pandemic and what it might take to get them back. There’s also several key elements you as an employer control and can adjust at varying levels to create the ideal attraction and retention model for your unique organization. Finally, consider the positive strides and existing gaps in creating a more diverse workforce and in finding more effective solutions to combat local poverty issues.

It is my hope that you will read this special Economic Growth Survey section, and the two that preceded it (July 19 and Aug. 9 issues), and that you will then add your voice to those seeking positive change and economic prosperity for our local business community. I encourage you to scan the QR code to secure your seat for the three forum discussions still ahead. I’ll look forward to hearing what you have to say!

SBJ 2021 Economic Growth Survey collected April 12-May 4. Survey sample size of 309, with a +/- 5.6% margin of error and 95% confidence interval.

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