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Tuesday
Dec042012

Five Areas in the US with Labor Shortages

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Friday's jobs report will likely continue to show the troubling picture for low-skill workers, but some regions of the country are in dire need of workers.

In the booming oil country around Minot, N.D., for example, Menards, a home improvement chain, is having trouble filling jobs.  Its solution is to fly 50 workers in weekly from its headquarters in Wisconsin, then house the staffers in hotels.

Stephen Bronars, chief economist with Welch Consulting, said the biggest labor shortages, by far, are in North Dakota.

"It is very difficult for employers to attract and retain enough workers to meet their demand in virtually all sectors and industries in North Dakota," Bronars said

Bismarck's unemployment rate is 2.2 percent -- the lowest in the country among metropolitan areas -- and Minot's unemployment rate is also low at 2.4 percent.  But what may be the lowest rate in the state is the 0.7 percent unemployment rate in Williston, N.D., which is in the midst of an energy boom.

"Employment is also growing at retailers, hotels, restaurants and in other industries as well," Bronars said.

Here are four other areas in the country with labor shortages:

Florida

Partly because of the housing recovery, home builders in Tampa, Fla., are reporting a shortage of construction workers.  Many workers left the region after the economic crisis of 2008.

Washington

Washington state apple and asparagus farmers both reported a shortage of workers this year, reflecting a nationwide lack of farmhands.

Louisiana

In New Orleans, a city official said a lack of workers delayed removal of debris, such as tree limbs and leaves, after Hurricane Isaac.  The city and its contractor said they have had to recruit laborers from out of state.

Manufacturing sector

In the next 10 years, the shortage of highly skilled workers could increase to 875,000 from 80,000 to 100,000 workers now, according to the Boston Consulting Group. While the U.S. may create as many as five million manufacturing and supporting jobs by 2020, factory workers are beginning to age and retire, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio