A farm in Massachusetts said it spent $500 advertising on Indeed for a job running its short-staffed produce stand

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Workers say they’re quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions. Olivier DoulieryAFP via Getty Images

The owner of a farm in Massachusetts said that he spent $500 advertising for a job vacancy on Indeed – but nobody applied.

The advert, which was seeking staff to work at an outdoor stand selling the farm’s produce and flowers from local florists, “didn’t yield anybody,” Hugh Manheim, owner of Manheim Farm in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, told The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

After being unable to find workers, Manheim temporarily closed the stand.

“We couldn’t find any people to work there,” he told The Gazette. “We’re still looking.” He did not say how much the job would pay.

Businesses ranging from ride-hailing apps and restaurants to hotels and delivery services are struggling to find workers.

Many say that their efforts to hire new workers are falling flat. The owner of a discount store in Maine said that he had a “help wanted” sign in the window but only received five applications in six months, while the owner of a taco restaurant in Texas said that most people who applied for jobs didn’t show up to their interviews.

Businesses have been cutting their hours, raising prices, and changing operations because they can’t get enough workers. In the case of the Taco restaurant, it even closed for good. Some businesses have said that people don’t want to work anymore, in some cases blaming it on unemployment benefits. But workers say they’re quitting their jobs in search of better pay, benefits, and working conditions.¬†

Manheim opened his farm produce stand in May. He told The Gazette that his children had been working there but left because they had other jobs. He said his children brought in their friends as replacements, but that they’d all returned to college.

Manheim said that he enjoyed working at the stand, but that he had to be on the farm itself most of the day.

“I can only be in so many places at one time,” he told The Gazette.

Massachusetts has an unemployment rate of 5.0%, per preliminary August data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is almost double its pre-pandemic unemployment rate, but is well below the 16.4% it reached in April 2020, after companies laid staff off at the start of the pandemic.

The state’s labor force participation rate – the number of people employed or actively seeking employment as a percentage of its total working-age population – is 65.7%, per BLS’ preliminary August data. This is significantly higher than the US average of 61.7%.

Do you own or manage a business that’s struggling to find staff? Or are you a worker who quit your job – or the industry – over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Contact this reporter at [email protected]

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

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