Everywhere I go in Lake Charles, there's a help wanted sign. Never has there been a time when so much work was available, much less in so many different types of jobs. It's crazy! If you don't have a job somewhere, doing something, you don't want one.

ZipRecruiter has more the 8,000 job listings for the Lake Charles area alone. Snagajob has more than 2,400 job openings. Indeed has another 3,500+ job openings in every position or profession imaginable. Where are the workers?

The Lake Area has a unique problem that was created by the back-to-back hurricanes in 2020. We have a huge deficit of housing. According to reports, this area lost an estimated 500,000 insured residential and commercial properties. Laura caused $19 billion in damages and Delta another $2.9 billion. Due to the lack of apartments, condos, rentals and residential property, tens of thousands of SWLA residents are still displaced in other cities and states. The other side of the spectrum is folks want to either come back home or want to move here to work, but there is no available housing to allow them to do so. Our issue is, indeed, unique.

Long story short, we got a mess on our hands. Now more than ever, we need those residents who are currently out of work to step up and join the local workforce. At the end of the day, the lack of workers is affecting our city's economy in a number of ways. Businesses that are able to open are either forced to remain closed, use drive-thru only options, have to close early, or even worse, turn customers away because they don't have the staff. An example of that was when a few friends and I tried to go out to eat last week. We went to a restaurant in Sulphur at 3:00pm in the afternoon and they were closed, with a sign on the door that read "take out orders only." We went to that same restaurant in Lake Charles and they told us there would be a long wait because they only have two waiters and one cook. It's really sad.

The labor shortage is hurting SWLA. It's up to us to save our community. It's important that we understand none of these restaurants or businesses are going to survive. We are going to lose them, one by one. They can't stay open if they can't make money, and they can't make money without a staff and customers. So, let's get back to work, Louisiana.

For more listings on local jobs, click here.

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