HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – For many businesses, hiring the right employees can be difficult enough, but in Ellis County, finding those prospective workers is posing an even greater challenge.

According to Kansas’ recent Labor Market Report, unemployment rates in Ellis County have dropped to 1.9%. Meaning of the more than 17,000 people counted toward the county’s total workforce, only 325 people are unemployed.

Businesses have been forced to adapt while still trying to keep up with the skyrocketing demands for their services. Many have resulted in cutting back hours of operation, increasing wages to remain competitive, and temporarily closing doors.

“Obviously that’s going to have a direct impact on sales tax dollars. If you have a business that would normally be open for 12 hours a day and they only have eight hours of operation, they could be losing thousands of dollars a day and those thousands of dollars directly impact the services we receive,” said Sarah Wasinger, President and CEO of The Chamber in Hays.

Even with the apparent obstacles, many businesses are aggressively searching for new employees. “But right now, it just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot out there,” said Shaun Musil, Co-Owner of Paisley Pear Wine Bar, Bistro, and Market.

Musil says the family business has had to cut back on events, offer potential bonuses, and take on longer hours. “For me, it’s me working more hours, or you know, other staff doing doubles, sometimes triples,” said Musil.

At Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas, officials say applications have dwindled.

“We’ve tried a couple of different new ways of advertising in the community, but haven’t got a whole lot of new applicants or different feedback from those, so it’s just a struggle right now,” said Michelle Bland, Human Resources Manager for Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas.

The Chamber says filling positions is vital for the future of the county and city. “We know that the only way they’re going to be able to continue growing those businesses is by attracting more workforce to Hays,” said Wasinger.

They say the industries needing help the most are retail, hospitality, and dining.

The city and several businesses are posting openings online at sites like Nex-Tech Classifieds, Handshake, Indeed, and LinkedIn. There is also a list of current job openings on, workhays.com.

Employers are also reaching out to local schools to recruit students as future employees.

For more information on The Chamber’s workforce findings, click here.