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NY employers: Retaining workers has gotten harder

More factories across the region and service firms

More factories across the region and service firms in the metropolitan area said it's getting harder to retain employees, according to two new polls by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This photo is from April 8, 2016 in New Holland, Pa. Credit: Bloomberg News / Luke Sharrett

Factories across New York State and service firms in the metropolitan area are having more difficulty retaining employees than they did last year, according to two new polls.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found 26 percent of the 100 or so manufacturers it polled earlier this month said it had “become harder to retain employees over the past 12 months.” That’s up from 17 percent in a similar poll conducted in June 2015.

Among the 100 retailers and other service firms participating in a separate bank survey this month, 23.3 percent said retaining workers had become more difficult in the past year. That compares with 18.3 percent in the 2015 survey.

“Just 4 percent of service firms and 1 percent of manufacturers said it had gotten easier” to keep employees, the New York Fed said.

Roughly two-thirds of the plants and service firms said they had experienced no change in their ability to retain workers.

“Businesses were also asked whether they were raising wages and salaries by more than in recent years in order to retain existing workers,” the bank said. “Fifty-five percent of manufacturers and 59 percent of service firms, a somewhat larger share of respondents than in last year’s survey, reported that they were doing so for at least some job categories.”

In terms of hiring, more than half of factories and six in 10 service firms said they couldn’t find enough qualified candidates to fill job vacancies.

The New York Fed said applicants’ lack of job-specific skills was a key challenge, along with punctuality, appropriate demeanor and other “soft skills.”

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