Moving companies stuck by labor shortage in Utah
As if the move weren’t bad enough, the Utahns can add that stress on top of trying to neatly pack their things into boxes: hire a moving company that can actually take care of the work.
Several moving companies have told Fox 13 they are experiencing a post-pandemic labor shortage, much as the restaurant and hospitality industry is witnessing. They are very busy and turn customers away.
READ: Summer travel overwhelms some businesses that are understaffed to stay open
On Friday afternoon, five guys hoisted heavy boxes and carefully packed tables and chairs at a Salt Lake City Avenue home, before strategically tucking items into the back of a tractor-trailer.
Korinne Hendrikse of Mountain States Moving and Storage explained that this particular client had planned their move to Arizona with him months in advance.
They could not have taken on this job if the person had waited to call.
“If they called a mover now, it would probably sound like we’re telling people, ‘I’d love to help you out, but unfortunately we’ve already booked until almost the end of August.'”
Summer is always the busy season, said Hendrikse, but she’s never seen a summer season like this – and she’s been working at Mountain States Moving and Storage, a company founded by her father, since high school.
During the pandemic, she said business had slowed down considerably. People weren’t moving as much. But now that things have reopened, so has their business.
Mountain States Moving and Storage started increasing its workforce in March, Hendrikse explained. The mobile boom hit them in April.
“We can’t hire enough people to do the jobs that people call and want us to do, unfortunately we have to turn them down,” she said.
Mark Knold, chief economist with the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said it was unprecedented how much the economy had woken up at the same time about two years ago. to three months, when COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
“Most of the industrial sectors that were really shut down during COVID or restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, all seemed to have all woken up at the same time,” Knold said. “And all of a sudden the vacancies and the need for workers collectively exploded at the same time.”
He added that the workforce can’t respond as quickly to all sudden job openings – especially with Utah’s already low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent.
Knold described how the job market is still in a period of transition and will need more time to help get back to what appears to be normal.
“I think they’re going to struggle with this throughout the year,” he said of the companies.
READ: Millions of people plan to change jobs as COVID-19 cases decline
For Hendrikse and Mountain States Moving and Storage, the tight job market and busy season are only part of the equation. She explained how the crazy housing market means more and more people are trying to relocate right now.
Some families have gone desperate, calling them the next day after other companies bailed out at the last second. But Hendrikse said they just weren’t able to take on those jobs.
“We’re just trying to get by, day to day,” she said with a chuckle. “If something cancels out, we hurry and put something else in this place because there are people waiting backstage.”
She knows it will take time to catch up. For now, they are going ahead and only accepting jobs for which they can guarantee staff.
“The only thing you can really do is try to navigate,” she said. “See if that eases a bit, when things get back to normal.” “