Simplified: Garbage haulers are the latest in a string of industries singing the staffing shortage tune in Sioux Falls, and for at least one company, customers are starting to see the impact.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls' unemployment rate is low – 2.5 percent (seasonally adjusted as of July per the Bureau of Labor Statistics) – so finding workers is a struggle for pretty much every business in town right now.
  • Waste management services are no exception. Shortages hit Novak Sanitary Services to the point where it's suspending some yard waste routes this week to accommodate staff shortages and vacations, according to Patrick Draisey, assistant district manager.
  • The impact is felt differently depending on the size of the company, but even smaller garbage haulers are feeling some strain as employees work long days and owners fill in to get routes completed.
"We don't have enough people to run all of our routes, so we have to prioritize what is most important," Draisey said.

How are businesses responding?

Novak raised pay and began to offer sign-on bonuses as well as recruitment bonuses to recruit more workers, Draisey.

  • The company currently has seven openings on its driving staff of about 60, he added.

For others, staffing shortages have meant longer hours for existing employees.

"We don't really have extra people to fill in spots," said Ruby Zuraff, who owns Roo's Sanitation in Tea along with her husband, Justin Zuraff.
  • Zuraff added that her husband, while never actually scheduled to drive, has consistently been on a truck either helping fill a route or training another driver.

What happens next?

Novak plans to resume regular routes next week, Draisey said.