Finding job applicants who can pass a drug test is a growing problem for factories and service firms in New York, according to two new polls.
Nearly 19 percent of manufacturers across New York State said they are having trouble hiring “because applicants have failed or refused drug tests," according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s up from 16 percent a year ago.
In a separate poll of retailers and service firms on Long Island, in New York City and the northern suburbs, 7 percent cited failed drug tests as a barrier to filling vacant positions. That’s up from 6 percent in the year-ago poll by the bank.
The surveys were conducted earlier this month and released last week. About 100 factories in the state and about 100 service firms in the metro area were polled.
Failure to pass a drug test was the No. 2 reason manufacturers cited for trouble filling vacant positions and the No. 3 reason among service firms.
A lack of qualified applicants was the No. 1 reason, cited by 65 percent of manufacturers and 49 percent of service firms, the New York Fed said.
“More than 70 percent of manufacturers and 57 percent of service-sector businesses noted some difficulties in hiring,” the bank said in a statement.
With unemployment at historic lows, employers are facing an increasingly tight labor pool. Long Island's unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in October, the lowest since 2001, the state Labor Department reported Tuesday.