A Matter of Economics

One of my favorite college classes was economics. I loved seeing and speculating on how things in an environment affected things around it. Shortages made prices go up. Surpluses made prices go down. And of course, there was the debate. Do tax increases help or hurt the economy? Should the government insert money into an economy, or should it be all free market? I loved the class!!! But one of the things that seemed to be a nearly hard and fast rule was that as prices go up, people would find alternatives.


In fact, we are seeing that right now in the lumber market. Lumber is going up, way up!! I bought some plywood a few weeks ago and paid about $35 for it. I thought that was crazy expensive, but today, that same piece of plywood would cost me twice that much. So, people are making substitutes. They are using pressboard, OSB board, plastic, and all kinds of other things that can save them money. Eventually, there will be a surplus of lumber, and we will begin to see the price come down.

It is similar in the employment market. Right now, companies all over the United States are having problems finding folks, so they are doing all kinds of things to try to make it easier. Many are increasing their pay. It helps, but the amount that it may need to go up to draw people may not have been achieved yet (plus, going up that much means that prices go up and inflation sets in, and no one wants that!!!). They are looking for alternatives: automation (by the way call me 913-333-2343, we can help with this!!!!), reducing the workforce, merging job duties, consolidation, etc.

But there is one alternative that I am not sure people are thinking about. In fact, it has kind of surprised me in what I have seen, and that is reducing the requirements for employees.


I get it, companies are backed up, so they want someone already trained in the machinery. They also have had bad experience with people who have felony convictions, and they don’t want to risk violence in the workplace. I understand, and I agree. But, what I am seeing, in the midst of the shortage of employees, is that companies are making the barriers to entry even greater, and from an economic viewpoint, this makes the shortage even worse. Rather than reducing the requirements to enter, they are increasing them. They are requiring more qualifications, more experience, cleaner background checks, etc. All of this means that they are reducing their pool of applicants.

Is there a place for this? ABSOLUTELY!! But, maybe there are some things where we can open up some opportunities in other areas. Is there an easy solution right now? Probably not, but we can help you find one that might work. For instance, is there an area where you can train someone in a job skill. Offer to pay them a little more, and train them to do the job. Maybe there are areas where you can allow a felon to have an opportunity to prove themselves. Maybe you can offer work to someone on parole. This is a big area many employers miss. When someone is on parole, depending on the offense, you have a whole cadre of resources at your disposal. IN some cases the Parole officer can be contacted if the person doesn’t show up for work. In some cases they do random drug tests to make sure they are clean. They are often required to have a job to keep from going back to jail. All kinds of things that can work to your advantage.

In short, give us a call 913-371-3212. We can help you customize a way to lower some of the barriers to employment and help you find good folks.

In other words, let’s get this economic situation back under control and find substitutes and other alternatives so we can get everything staffed and back to normal. Or at least close!!!!