Labor-force study gauges available worker supply in county

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 9/14/22

HERMANN — In an effort to match workers with employers, Gasconade County residents are being surveyed as part of a multi-county effort to promote economic development in Northeast …

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Labor-force study gauges available worker supply in county

Posted

HERMANN — In an effort to match workers with employers, Gasconade County residents are being surveyed as part of a multi-county effort to promote economic development in Northeast Missouri.

An agency in the Hannibal area – an organization known as Missouri Northeast (MO NE) – has commissioned the survey throughout a 28-county area that reaches down to Gasconade County. Gasconade County is included, according to Corey J. Mehaffy of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, because it is adjacent to Montgomery County, which is in the MO NE area and draws workers from Gasconade County.

Gasconade County residents received a single-sided document in the mail asking for participation in the survey. The mailer said the results of the survey would be used to help promote economic development and develop government policy. The Gasconade County Commission, which is responsible for setting countywide government policy in this county, was unaware of the labor force survey.

According to MO NE, the goal of the survey is to “identify the available labor force at the local and regional level by type, education, experience, skills, costs and under what conditions they would be available for employment.” The research is aimed at reflecting the views and perspectives of underemployed workers and the unemployed between the ages of 18-64.

“A key source of good employees is the category of the underemployed, those individuals who are now working but desire a better job and who possess the skills, education and experience to qualify for better jobs,” MO NE said in a statement issued within the Northeast Missouri region several months ago when the labor survey was being put together.

MO NE is a consortium of government agencies, businesses and organizations that share an interest in economic development. It is akin to the Hermann Regional Economic Development Corporation (HRED), which works to foster economic development in the Hermann area.

Conducting the survey for MO NE is Growth Services Group (GSG), a national labor force market research consulting firm. The organization said an updated labor force survey is necessary because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the workforce.

“One challenge facing employers is that current labor data is in flux given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mehaffy, who is the chief operating officer of GSG. “In fact, one could argue that, while extremely important from a funding perspective, even the current census data has been skewed by the crisis.

“The GSG team believes that the COVID-19 pandemic will forever change the way we live and work,” Mehaffy said. “We also firmly believe that this pandemic provides an opportunity for a workforce resurgence that has not existed for decades.”

MO NE Treasurer Carolyn Chrisman said that participating in this survey is important in term of companies’ site-selection process. “The results from the survey will assist international site selectors and existing business leaders as they evaluate the area’s human resource assets for ‘Underemployment, Available Skills, Commuting Patterns and Desired Wages,’ thus allow potential employers to match their labor needs or demand with our local area’s labor supply,” she said.

The area being surveyed includes 25 counties in Missouri and three in Illinois. While the announcement said the results of the survey would be shared with economic development and workforce development agencies within the MO NE area, it’s not clear if that means the Gasconade County portion of the data will shared with organizations such as HRED. As noted by Chrisman, it is MO NE’s mission to attract quality businesses to the Northeast Missouri region from around the world and to maintain efforts to improve the region’s competitiveness.

For more information about the survey and MO NE, visit www.nemopartnership.com/.

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