America’s largest newspaper publisher has a problem: it cannot find enough people to toss editions on to readers’ doorsteps.
Gannett, which publishes more than 250 titles from the Abilene Reporter-News to USA Today, is short of about 1,000 drivers to drop off papers in the small hours of the morning. About 12 per cent of its delivery routes are now unstaffed.
Yet at the same time, Gannett has told employees that “painful” cuts to staffing are coming as it tries to control costs in its declining print operations.
The disconnect between job shortages and lay-offs, even in a single company, illustrates the mixed messages emanating from the US labour market. A historic burst of hiring is colliding with questions about whether some employers have hired too fast.
As industries from trucking to fast food complain of labour shortages, businesses as diverse as Coinbase, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Netflix, Robinhood, Shopify, Tesla, Twitter and Walmart have warned of job cuts in recent weeks.
The backdrop is an economy that added an unexpectedly high 528,000 jobs in July, bringing unemployment down to a historically low 3.5 per cent even after two quarters of declining gross domestic product.
“We’re all scratching our heads a little bit,” admits Martine Ferland, chief executive of Mercer, which advises companies on workforce and benefits issues.
“I’ve been in this industry for 25 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” echoed Joanie Bily, chief workforce…