How 5 businesses across the country are weathering the labor shortage

HR Dive spoke with talent professionals who detailed how the 3.5% national unemployment rate impacts their businesses.
October 15, 2019

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) told employers in October that the national unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% — but that’s just a number. Across the country, talent professionals in every industry face the tightest labor market since December 1969. What does a 3.5% unemployment rate mean to them? What does that look like inside American businesses? And what are they doing to cope with the challenges it brings?

To begin to answer these questions, HR Dive spoke with five talent professionals, each from a different business, in a different industry, of a different size, in a different part of the country. Read on to discover what the labor shortage means to each of them, and how they’re dealing with it.

Unemployment rate for each state
Each state is colored based on its unemployment rate (as of August 2019), with darker shades corresponding to higher rates. The cities where the five businesses are located are labeled with red circles.
Nami Sumida/HR Dive; data from Bureau of Labor Statistics

The following responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.