What’s behind the staffing shortage in the service industry? 

A help wanted sign on a door.
A sign on the door of Stonehouse Coffee and Roastery in Nisswa, Minn., advertises job openings. Stonehouse and other Brainerd-area businesses had to reduce hours over the summer due to a shortage of workers to keep up with a busier-than-ever tourist season.
Kirsti Marohn | MPR News file

If so many people seem to be looking for work, why are so many employers struggling to find employees? 

The labor shortage is hobbling the economic recovery. Coffee shops and restaurants have cut back their hours of operation because they are short-staffed and are offering cash bonuses to entice applicants. Bus drivers are in such short supply that some school districts canceled routes just days before classes started this fall. Long-term care facilities are turning away residents because they don’t have enough nursing assistants. 

MPR News host Angela Davis talks with MPR News senior economics contributor Chris Farrell and hospitality industry leaders about the impact of the labor shortage and why workers are so hard to find. 

Plus, an announcement from Children’s Minnesota about plans to open a new inpatient mental health center for children and teenagers at the hospital’s St. Paul location in the second half of 2022.

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Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Clarification: The audio conversation refers to Minnesota having among the fewest psychiatric beds per capita in the country. Minnesota has the fewest state-run psychiatric beds, not the fewest psychiatric inpatient beds overall.