The trouble the Summit County government is experiencing as it attempts to hire staffers for a range of positions serves as a warning for the rest of the community.
If a government armed with the financial resources of an impressive economic run, and the ability to offer a benefits package that many in the private sector cannot match, is having difficulty in the hiring market, businesses are likely also struggling to fill out their staffs even as the busiest stretch of the summer-tourism season has started.
The unemployment rate in Summit County in May, the most recent month for which numbers are available, was 1.8%, among the lowest in the state. It has been an extraordinary comeback for the workforce since the early months of the pandemic, when the rate in Summit County spiked to above 20%.
Even in the heat of the summer Park City-area businesses, importantly, need to begin considering their projections for labor needs during the upcoming ski season. Fall is when the hiring usually starts for the winter.
It is impossible, of course, to predict what the state of the economy or the pandemic will be during key hiring months in September, October and November, but businesses of all sizes with ties to the tourism industry should be preparing for what could be a difficult recruiting and hiring process with unemployment so low.
It is not the role of The Park Record to suggest what steps any industry could take to increase the chances of successful recruitments in coming months since they vary by individual businesses. Rather, it needs to be pointed out that the business community must be prepared to encounter a workforce unwilling to jump at the prospects of any position at any rate of pay.
The community during the 2021-2022 ski season learned of the ramifications of staffing shortages. The widespread complaints about inferior service in the tourism industry were partly blamed on the difficulty of hiring and retaining workers. A lack of staff at numerous businesses, then, became an issue for the broader community of Park City since the impacts reached to the guest experience that is so critical to the brand.
Nobody wants a repeat of the failures of the most recent ski season. The business community should already be working to avoid a repeat.