SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Experts say Utah’s economy has nearly completed its comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic but there is a new problem at hand for employers.

The so-called “Great Resignation” has employees quitting their jobs in record numbers, leaving companies desperate to hire. Utah-based Qualtrics found in a survey of nearly 14,000 full-time employees in 27 countries that fewer employees intend to stay at their current jobs in 2022 than in 2021.

Labor shortages have persisted longer than many economists expected – the economy still has 5 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic. Hiring slowed sharply in September to just 194,000 new jobs after averaging 607,000 a month the first eight months of the year. That is partly because companies can’t find enough people to fill their job openings – 10.4 million in August, second-highest in records going back to 2000.

A new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts found there are more jobs than those without jobs in 42 states. In Nebraska, the ratio of jobs-to-jobless is almost 3 to 1. In the following states, that ratio is more than 2 to 1:

  • Utah
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Idaho
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Montana

In most of the other states, The Pew Charitable Trusts found the ratio is higher now than it was before the pandemic. Just eight states have more unemployed workers than job openings. Those states are:

  • Hawaii
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • New Mexico
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada

Below is an interactive map showing the labor shortage by state.

According to The Pew Trust, most of the states with more jobless people than jobs have white-collar positions allowing people to work remotely. Where the labor shortage is most acute in sectors with relatively low pay and high public contact, like hospitality, public transportation, and food service.

Experts say there are multiple reasons why Utah and other states may be struggling to find workers. That includes concerns over COVID-19, workers taking early retirement, lower immigration, and the sense that people can get by on part-time work without major financial struggles, explains The Pew Trust.

Others say the application process is keeping them from seeing otherwise qualified applicants. One business owner in Indiana tells ABC4 affiliate WANE the applicant tracking system can be a challenge.

“The applicant tracking systems are automated and the employer puts their ad out there defining what they need,” said Lisa Mungovan, who has spent over 30 years in the human resources field. “When an applicant submits their resume, if their words don’t have enough matching words, they can get disqualified in less than a second.”