Starbucks cuts store hours across Lehigh Valley due to staffing shortages

Written by on October 5, 2021

Starbucks cuts store hours across Lehigh Valley due to staffing shortages; your skinny venti quad decaf latte could be on hold

By Megan Frank

October 5, 2021

FILE – This Tuesday, March 14, 2017, file photo show the Starbucks logo on a shop in downtown Pittsburgh. Starbucks saw record sales in its fiscal third quarter as the impact of the pandemic receded and customers flocked to its stores. The Seattle-based coffee giant said its revenue soared 78% to $7.5 billion in the April-June 2021, period, an all-time high. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Getting a “cuppa joe” in the Lehigh Valley may be a little bit tougher these days. 

Listen to the story.

Some Starbucks locations have cut store hours due to staffing shortages. It’s part of a broader labor issue that has hit the U.S. and Pennsylvania pretty hard.

Yariv Fadlon is an assistant professor of economics at Muhlenberg College.  He says Pennsylvania has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. 

“It is 6.4% in Pennsylvania, 6.2% in the Lehigh Valley versus 5.2% across the United States,” said Fadlon. 

Fadlon said the pandemic has resulted in fewer people ready to jump into jobs right now.

“During the pandemic and during recessions the labor market is reorganized,” Fadlon said. “In the process of the reorganization, you see more shortages, sometimes you see a surplus. In this case, you see a shortage.”

Fadlon says demand for unskilled labor is also high because the U.S. economy is booming. 

But he says the labor shortage doesn’t necessarily mean that people don’t want to work. Even though people have just lost their CARES Act relief money, Fadlon said some of the workforce is looking for higher paying jobs and better benefits. 

“Because of the labor shortage, more companies have to compete for this unskilled labor, and Starbucks has to compete with other companies,” Fadlon said.

A representative from Starbucks characterized the staffing shortages as temporary. The company says it’s only reducing hours in some U.S. markets to ease pressure on staff.  

Fadlon anticipates that labor shortages will last for several more months. 

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