Lycoming County businesses in search of help after surviving pandemic

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LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Businesses that were fortunate enough to survive the pandemic say they’re now faced with another problem: finding enough people to work.

It’s been a tough year and a half for many people, but especially small businesses. Some business owners in Lycoming County say they have open positions, but filling them hasn’t been easy.

According to Reuters, less than 200,000 businesses in the country failed during the first year of the pandemic.

Some businesses in Lycoming County say their sales have increased, but finding workers to keep up with the demand has been difficult.

“The biggest challenge for us right now is raw material increases and labor shortages. It’s been a really hard time to get people to want to come back to work,” Ralph S. Alberts Co. Inc., CEO/President, Seth Alberts explained.

In March of 2020, Alberts says they were forced to cut some jobs, but since then they’ve hired many back. Despite their best efforts, they’re still a bit short-staffed.

“Our Now Hiring signs, we’re doing radio ads, TV ads this week during the Olympics, and it’s been very difficult to recruit people,” said Alberts.

Some say unemployment benefits are high, so naturally, people don’t want to get back to work.

“When that unemployment benefit expires this fall, I think we will see a return to work for a lot of folks that sat out of work for a while,” Shop-Vac Chief Operating Officer Charlie Lawrence said.

Smaller companies, like Priority Bicycles, haven’t had as big of an issue as others, but say they haven’t received as many job applications.

“When you posted a job, you know two years ago, where there would be a couple of hundred applicants, and now you might see 10 trickle in,” Priority Bicycles Warehouse Manager, Patrick Sparks said.

All of the businesses are hiring and applications can be found on their websites: Shop-Vac, Ralph S. Alberts, and Priority Bicycles.

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