Utah employers face difficulty hiring entry level workers

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah's economy continues to outpace the rest of country; the most recent jobs report shows statewide unemployment at 3.5 percent. It's good news, but too much of a good thing can be a problem.

"Finding those entry-level people is more difficult than ever," said Carrie Mayne, Chief Economist for Utah's Workforce Services Division.

It's a reality Jeff Krie, Co-Owner of Trolley Wing Company, is facing at his new restaurant in Midvale.

"I've had ads out and I check my inbox and there is nothing there," Krie said.

To make up for the lack of applicants, Krie is working fifteen hours a day, taking on the role of dishwasher and prep chef. He says he's been forced to make changes that customers are noticing.

"I'm only using half my menu right now because I don't have the hands to finish everything," Krie said.

On a statewide level, the lack of entry-level employees could stop companies from coming to Utah.

"They ask ‘are we going to find the people to fill these jobs?’," Mayne said. "Generally speaking, it's a very tight labor market. It's a job seeker’s market."

However, the disparity in demand for employees varies across the state. For example, Wayne County sits at 7.8 percent unemployment, while Salt Lake County sits at 3.2 percent.