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Survey shows 53% of businesses experience workforce shortage

Various laborers doing skilled work.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi surveyed 217 members about current workforce issues in the wake of federal, state and local mandates requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested regularly.

About 53% of the businesses in the survey say the biggest challenge is finding and retaining qualified workers.

However, that figure is down from 86% in a similar survey in May.

Forty-six percent say President Biden’s Sept. 9 call for employers with more than 100 employees to require COVID-19 vaccinations would affect their ability to retain workers.

Still, when it comes to new hiring, businesses said finding workers with the necessary experience is more of a concern than vaccine mandates.

Of those surveyed, 52% say that workforce shortage is due to a lack of candidates with necessary experience, and 21% due to vaccination and testing mandates.

Forty-two percent of businesses say that 90-100% of their employees are currently vaccinated. 

Statewide, 68.7% of the entire population has been fully vaccinated, according to the state's COVID-19 dashboard. About 80% of those eligible, aged 12 and over, have been fully vaccinated.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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