Kreg Anderson is the Airport Manager for the City of Alexandria, as well as the Charter Pilot and Chief Flight Instructor for Alexandria Aviation. Alexandria Aviation has been providing flight instruction, aircraft rentals, scenic air rides, private charters and other general aviation services for the Alexandria and surrounding communities since 1975.
By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
In April 2021, Minnesota had 181,900 fewer jobs than in January 2020, yet job openings have reached pre-pandemic levels.
After peaking at 11.3% in May 2020, Minnesota’s unemployment rate receded, hitting a low of 4.1% this April. However, the labor force participation rate (people older than 16 working or looking for work) fell 2.5% since January 2020 because some Minnesotans dropped out of the workforce altogether and are not being counted in the official unemployment rate.
The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund faces a $1.3 billion deficit. Therefore, employers face significant unemployment tax increases to cover that deficit. These are major problems for many Minnesota businesses.
The Alexandria Chamber partnered with the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission in a recent survey to gather data on workforce issues in Douglas County. Nearly 100 businesses representing a cross-sector of industries including health care, agriculture, construction, finance, hospitality, professional services, retail, manufacturing, human services, education, arts, transportation, and others responded.
Many respondents reported numerous job openings that are taking more than 6 weeks to fill. The majority report that the number of applicants is down and the quality of candidates is lower than before the pandemic. The majority also reported that less than 25% of applicants even followed through with scheduled interviews or accepted job offers.
Employee shortages have caused many of these businesses to cut back on expansion plans or limit services and have negatively impacted their level of quality of output and/or customer service. Nearly 57% percent reported increasing overtime for existing employees and 67% reported spending more time addressing employee burnout. Nearly 80% of respondents blame the labor shortage on expanded unemployment benefits, while others claim lack of housing, childcare and low wages also play significant roles.
The Alexandria Chamber is working closely with the Minnesota Chamber to urge legislators to end the expanded unemployment benefit and to address the trust fund deficit without passing that burden on to employers.
Contact your legislators today about this important issue!
Click here to view a summary of the Douglas County Labor Survey results.
Kari Ziesemer and Courtney Bitzan are the owners of McCarten Design. It is a full-service residential home design build company that works with builders, subcontractors, and artisans from the beginning design concept through the building process to completion. Its role can include space consultation, drafting, building design, interior design, budget development and project management. Learn more at www.mccartendesign.com.
By Lauren Johnson, Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Have an event coming up but need new ways to market it? Take advantage of the Chamber’s weekly Events at a Glance email blast.
Every Thursday at 10 am, the Alexandria Chamber sends the Events at a Glance email blast that consists of 10 days of upcoming Chamber and Chamber member events. There are several ways to ensure your event gets listed in the weekly Events at a Glance email blast.
The first and most popular way is through the Douglas County Community Calendar. All Chamber member events are automatically pulled from this calendar to be added to the Events at a Glance. This calendar is not only an easy way to ensure your event is added to the Events at a Glance but is also a great tool to reach an even larger audience. All events that are pulled from the Douglas County Community Calendar to be added to the Events at a Glance will link back to the calendar listing for more information. Visit www.alexmncalendar.com to submit your event to the Douglas County Community Calendar.
If you’re a Chamber Member hosting an event outside of the Douglas County limits, reach out to us at the Chamber with your event information and we will be happy to include it in our Events at a Glance. Be sure to include somewhere we can link it to such as a Facebook event page or a website where they can find more information. Or if you prefer, we can link it to an email address or even a PDF flyer.
A couple other ways to get your information added to the Events at a Glance includes, sending a Chamber member email blast – we will add any qualifying events from previous chamber member email blasts. You can also drop off a flyer for our bulletin board located at our Chamber office and we will be sure to include that information as well.
All submissions for the Events at a Glance email blast must be received by 3 pm on the Tuesday prior to that Thursday’s email blast.
The Events at a Glance is a quick and easy way to market your event without spending a dime! For more information on how to submit your event for the weekly Events at a Glance email blast, reach out to Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 320-763-3161.
If you are not currently receiving the Events at a Glance email blast but would like to, sign up here: https://www.alexandriamn.org/subscription-sign-up.html. It’s a great way to stay “in the know” about events happening in and around our community.