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Workforce Shortage in Montana Has Small Businesses Thinking Outside the Box

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Montana’s unemployment rate was an impressive 3.8% in April of this year, lower than that of the national rate of 4.3%.  However, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) is now facing the issue of a workforce shortage. The DLI anticipates that this shortage will put Montana’s unemployment rate below 2% by 2025.

So Why Is There a Workforce Shortage?

For starters, Montana’s number of retirees (those aged 65 and older) is projected to grow by 7,000 people each year, while the working age population (those aged 16 to 64) is only expected to grow by 475 each year. Simply put, Montana does not have enough people in the working age group to fix this shortage.

On top of this, another reason for the workforce shortage is due to low wages. In the past, employers generally had an adequate pool of candidates looking for work, and were therefore able to pay employees less. Now however, with a lack of applicants, employers are beginning to reconsider what they’ve paid employees in the past, and whether it’s still enough.

While some state legislators have proposed raising the current minimum wage from $8.05 to $10.10, lobbyists have continued to shut the idea down due to concerns that the increase would be too cumbersome for small businesses.

It’s Not Just About the Paycheck

Despite the working age group being so small and some employers having a difficult time filling open positions due to low wages, it isn’t all about the income for some. In fact, many new employees, and specifically millennials, want meaningful jobs where they know that their work will have an impact.

Typically, millennials measure job satisfaction based on flexible work schedules, a collaborative office culture, relaxed dress codes and validity from their employer. Because millennials are more likely to switch careers than other generations (due to feeling a lack of job satisfaction), employers are finding it more difficult both to attract and retain these employees.

What’s Next?

Many Montana government job descriptions are now being tailored to include responsibilities and the influence in the workplace that an employee would have. To reduce turnover and hold onto employees, some employers are beginning to offer flexible schedules, thus drawing in a larger pool of both interested and qualified applicants.

As many smaller companies begin to struggle with the workforce shortage, employers are encouraged to market themselves and their open job positions to appeal to the younger generation. Many businesses may have to reconsider how their positions are structured, and what they can do to entice and keep millennials who enjoy working in collaborative, honest, and fun environments.


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Looking To Sell? 5 Projects to Improve Your Curb Appeal

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

With nice weather becoming a constant and summer just around the corner, this time of year presents a great opportunity for sellers to prepare their homes to hit the market. Many people shop online first, and often times the first image of a home they see is an exterior view. If this initial image doesn’t impress a buyer, they may move on to another home and not continue to consider yours.

These simple projects can help improve the curb appeal of your home if you’re looking to sell this summer:

  • Add a Pop of Color

Because eyes are instinctively drawn to color, adding a few flower pots or hanging flower baskets near your front door or porch can add visual interest and draw positive attention to the exterior of your home.

  • Hang Outdoor Lights

Lighting is a feature that many buyers take into consideration when purchasing a home, and exterior lighting is no exception. Taking the time to install outdoor lighting or hang string lights can enhance your porch or deck area and highlight exterior features of your home that buyers may be interested in.

  • Update Your Fence

Fences, or a lack thereof, are an exterior feature that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Buyers with children or pets will appreciate the presence of a fence because it will create a private and safe area. If you have a fence, consider whether it needs a fresh coat of paint or if any boards are broken or loose. If you don’t have a fence and investing in one is feasible for you, consider the style, color and amount of time it will take to have one installed.  

  • Invest in Landscaping

Adding landscaping to any home can increase the home value and attract the attention of buyers. A few DIY project ideas include planting trees or flowers, cleaning the edges around walkways, or hanging a hammock. While some landscaping projects don’t require the help of a professional, other attributes such as water features or retaining walls may require an investment if you’re looking to up your curb appeal game.

  • Stage an Outdoor Living Room

If you don’t already own patio furniture now might be the time to invest, especially if your home offers views.  Staging an outdoor area with chairs, a table, colorful cushions and an outdoor rug can help buyers visualize afternoons lounging in the sun and evenings spent relaxing with friends, which may contribute to their overall decision to purchase.

While completing these projects isn’t necessary in helping to sell your home, they are all possible options to consider if your curb appeal needs improvement. Regardless of budget or time, there always steps to take in order to add home value and attract buyers' attention.


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Top Home Improvement Projects That Sell

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