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Jackson Hole Chamber Of Commerce Survey Prompts More Discussion To Start Tackling Solution To Housing Shortage

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Jackson Hole is familiar with housing and employee shortages but this year, things are a little different for several reasons. That's according to a new survey from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.

The survey was put out by the chamber after several challenges came to light, including businesses reducing their hours or days, adjusting their product or closing their business entirely due to staffing shortages.

Chamber CEO Anna Olson said over 240 businesses responded to questions on how hard it was to hire people and why. She said for both seasonal and full-time positions, businesses are only getting one to two applicants, or none at all.

"It's not about the business or the job, particularly, it's really about the lack of people here to apply," said Olson. And overall, you know, there were some very large numbers around 3,000 potential open jobs, with only about 1,000 applicants. And those numbers were extrapolated, they're not based on our real numbers."

In response, about 85 percent of employers have increased their wages and some are offering referral bonuses or sign-on bonuses. In addition, Olson said a little over 40 percent of the 900 or so businesses in the chamber are starting to assist their employees with housing, whether through a stipend, or subsidized and on-site housing.

Olson said the survey results don't give her reason to believe the workforce situation is going to get better. As a result of the survey, she said the conversation needs to focus on solutions, so the chamber is going to bring people together to figure one out.

"A lot of people who do have land and don't know the opportunities, or what can happen to it. And maybe they don't have businesses, so they don't, you know, have these employees. So it really is going to be bringing this all out into the open to determine who can work together," said Olson.

The Chamber of Commerce, Department of Housing and businesses are planning a roundtable to discuss potential long-term solutions.

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