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“The Great Reshuffling”: How to Adapt to the Labor Crunch

Even as the jobs outlook improves, breweries are still struggling to find qualified workers for all types of positions. To find and keep staff, brewery operators—and the industry more broadly—need to consider the bigger picture and think longer term.

Kate Bernot Apr 25, 2022 - 10 min read

“The Great Reshuffling”: How to Adapt to the Labor Crunch Primary Image

Illustration: Jamie Bogner

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This time last year, the Delta variant of COVID-19 was wreaking havoc on a summer that the brewing industry—indeed, everyone—had hoped would be a “return to normal.” Staffing was generally difficult, and it was easy to attribute that to workers’ renewed health concerns and family priorities. Yet now, with Delta and then Omicron having subsided—and national jobs numbers looking rosier—staffing is still difficult for many breweries. Why?

In late March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLTS report—that is, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey—contained some good news: Demand for workers had stabilized, and the quits rate was leveling off, too. However, quits and job openings remain particularly high this year in three sectors: retail, manufacturing, and leisure/hospitality.

Craft breweries, alas, sit at the intersection of all three.

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