It’s getting hard to find good help these days. Due to a weak educational picture, the ever-increasing specialization of the economy and a shrinking supply of available workers, hiring is getting more and more difficult for Mississippi employers.

One reason is that skilled workers are experiencing ever-higher demand while programs to create those workers are increasingly difficult to obtain. A 2010 study by Georgetown University estimates that by 2018, 54 percent of all jobs in the state of Mississippi will require post-high school education or training, while the most recent census data indicates that barely over a third of Mississippians have an associate, bachelor’s or graduate degree.

Although a college degree is becoming the benchmark for middle-class employment, funding for primary education is being slashed and the cost of a college degree is skyrocketing. Between 2008 and 2014, Mississippi cut its education investment by 13.1 percent, spending $648 less per student.

College tuition increases have grown four times faster than the consumer price index, surging by 1,120 percent between 1978 and 2014. The average 2015 college grad is leaving school with a debt load of more than $35,000. In part deterred by those high prices, some poorer students are forgoing postsecondary education: Total college enrollment in the U.S. has declined in each of the past three years.

There also just aren’t as many unemployed workers as there used to be. In an improving national economy, Mississippi has seen its unemployment rate drop from almost 11 percent in early 2010 to just 6.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015. This is exacerbated by the state’s negative net migration and anemic overall population growth, especially the “brain drain” created when graduates of the state’s excellent public universities leave the state for new jobs.

In this difficult hiring climate, a strong relationship with a recruiter gives you an edge in the labor market. Expertise becomes even more important when scarcity increases the difficulty of the hiring process. Over 300 businesses throughout the Jackson metro area have partnered with Staffers, the state’s leading office administration staffing firm. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business connect with the right talent.

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