MNRSA surveys its members and affiliates, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank Minneapolis.  Here are some key highlights from the December, 2019, survey:


  • In general, 4th quarter activity was moderately improved over the same period a year earlier. Job orders saw the most positive response, with total clients an hours booked and unfilled orders slightly less upbeat but still positive overall. However, in a sign of tight labor (which is evident throughout the survey), 40 percent saw an increase in unfilled job orders compared with last year.
  • Respondents were notably optimistic regarding the same metrics for the first half of 2020, with strong positive expectations for growth in job orders, clients, and hours booked. Not surprisingly, they also expected unfilled jobs to rise.
  • Three out of four respondents said labor availability was ‘very tight,’ and more than half of those also believed it was getting worse. Turnover also continues to get worse, both among clients and at respondents’ staffing firms.
  • For those companies facing unfilled job orders, more than half of respondents said that companies prefer to simply bring more firms into the search process. Only about one-quarter raise wages to increase the prospective labor pool, and 10 percent increase hours for existing workforce.
    • We continue to wait for wage increases that look more like those in the 1990s (not those seen the end of the Recession, which on average have been much lower than historical averages in a growing economy). This question says (and others in this survey support it) that companies more often believe – by a larger margin – that they can somehow outrun or outwork tight labor by simply employing more firms to search for available labor.
  • Not surprisingly, tight labor is effecting client capacity, with 40 percent saying that a notable share of clients (25 to 75 percent) were turning down work because poor labor availability. The percentage might be significantly higher, as almost 45 percent of respondents said they didn’t know what share of clients were turning down work.
  • Wage increases over the last 12 months seem to coalesce slightly below 3 percent; 42 percent said client wages rose above 3 percent over this period, while 55 percent said they rose below 3 percent. However, 58 percent believed wages would increase by 3 percent or more in the coming 12 months.
  • Among local labor mandates, paid safe/sick leave was having a disproportionately negative effect on respondents’ firms, with almost 60 percent saying it had a significant (24%) or somewhat (33%) negative effect on job orders. Smaller negative effects were seen for wage theft (36 percent saw negative effects) and minimum wage (26 percent).
  • For statewide labor mandates, respondents reported negative effects for paid safe/sick time (58 percent), predictive/restrictive scheduling (53 percent), statewide family and medical leave (52 percent), and sexual harassment legal standards (19 percent).

We have prepared an infographic with key messages that you are encouraged to share with your employees, clients and legislators.

The full report of the survey data is available to MNRSA members.  Call 651.292.3922 or email Dee@MNRSA.org

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