In Oklahoma, even marijuana dispensaries have trouble finding workers.
Throughout the service industry, employers are facing the prospect that there simply aren’t enough people to maintain pre-pandemic staffing levels. It’s led to offers of higher wages and more benefits to employees, but unlucky businesses that can’t recruit enough staff are finding it harder to stay open.
The state is near record-low unemployment rates, one economic metric that has returned to pre-pandemic levels. There are simply few Oklahomans in the labor force without work.
Fire Leaf, a cannabis dispensary with eight locations in central Oklahoma, has felt the pinch over the past six months, said Allison Griffith, marketing director.
“We’re having the same struggles, just like everybody else is,” Griffith said.
Despite offering insurance, paid time off and other benefits, the dispensary has had trouble keeping its staffing levels.
Tisha Bailey, left, and Kristen Poe check out a customer at the front counter at Fire Leaf Dispensary in Edmond.
“We are one of the more competitive dispensaries (for employees), but we still struggle with hiring simply because when there’s a COVID surge, people tend to shy away from more public-facing positions.”
The hardest-hit businesses are the