If you’re an employer struggling to fill open positions with qualified candidates, you’re not alone.

According to the Star Tribune, the number of job openings in Minnesota is now greater than the number of unemployed job seekers.  Specifically, in October of 2015, there were 97,977 job openings, but only 89,793 Minnesotans seeking jobs.  The labor shortage is due to the State’s strong economy and its continuing low overall unemployment rate.  In September of 2015, the unemployment rate in the Twin Cities metropolitan area dropped to 3.1%, its lowest level since 2000.  Statewide, the unemployment rate in Minnesota is 3.7%.  That compares with 4.3% in Wisconsin and 5.0% nationally.

The primary effect of the labor shortage for employers is that it is harder to recruit new employees.  Employers may need to offer greater benefits and incentives to applicants, or they may need to offer relocation to candidates from out-of-state to bring in new talent.  The labor shortage may also affect retention of existing employees, who may become subject to the recruitment efforts of competitors.

Takeaway:  There is no end in sight for the current labor shortage in Minnesota that is making it difficult for employers to recruit and retain qualified employees.