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Survey says: Affordable housing is the top concern for businesses

With housing prices exploding, businesses are having a harder time getting workers to come — and stay.

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  • | 11:00 a.m. February 7, 2022
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Lisa Krouse says the booming housing market has exacerbated the labor shortage on a local level. (File photo)
Lisa Krouse says the booming housing market has exacerbated the labor shortage on a local level. (File photo)
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A quick check-in on businesses in Sarasota County revealed the real reason they’re struggling to hire workers — affordable housing

The annual business tax survey released by the Sarasota County Economic Development Corporation each fall collected responses from 1,905 businesses in the area. The most notable metric fell to the top concerns, which highlighted affordable housing with the highest response rate of 412 businesses. The rising costs makes it harder for businesses to hire and retain employees. 

“We are hearing from businesses every day that they love Sarasota County and want to establish or expand their companies here,” says Lisa Krouse, CEO, in a release. “They recognize that we have an exceptional quality of life, and they want to enjoy it for themselves. However, they are also very concerned with their ability to attract and retain talent. While a hot housing market is good in certain ways, it has exacerbated the labor shortage on a local level.”

Read more about affordable housing across the region. 

In response to the ongoing crisis, the EDC is collaborating with Visit Sarasota through a “Work Where You Want to Live” campaign that was announced at the end of last year. The campaign was designed with the intention of helping fill open positions at local businesses. The organizations are looking within targeted markets to attract workers to the area. Currently, they’ve shifted the focus to markets where housing is less affordable.

To assist in helping companies build a workforce, the survey also inquired about which positions were the hardest to fill. A little more than 26% of businesses are struggling to fill skilled positions, followed by unskilled and entry level roles.

The survey is designed to examine how well businesses are doing through questions about their experiences over the previous year and economic outlook for the coming year. In response to a question about the impact of COVID-19, 868 businesses indicated it had a negative effect.

The EDC uses the survey results to support businesses in growth and expansion with business consulting, site selection assistance, financing resources and economic intelligence. The top industries to respond were professional services, construction, healthcare and retail. Almost 80% of businesses indicated they do not plan to hire in the near future.


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