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Repair Shop Advice

Unemployment is High. There Still Won’t Be Enough Technicians.

September 22, 2020

The national unemployment rate continues to drop after the largest spike since the Great Depression, reaching 8.4% in August.  That’s a massive improvement over April’s 14.7% but it’s still a number reached only once (during the Great Recession) in the past 25 years.  Economists are warning to expect unemployment to remain elevated above historic averages for years.

High unemployment is bad news for the economy, but it’s normally beneficial if you’re trying to find great new employees.  Unfortunately for auto repair shop owners, the unemployment rate isn’t going to matter much when it comes to automotive technicians.  There still won’t be enough.

The auto, diesel and collision industries are expected to need 642,000 technicians to enter the workforce between 2020 and 2024, according to the TechForce Foundation.  The number of students successfully completing programs in each of these three fields in 2018 was down compared to 2017.  And although there are signs of increased interest in studying to become a technician, it will be many years before this interest yields experienced technicians.

We’ve mentioned before that COVID-19 is having an uneven impact across the country, with some shops facing large revenue reductions while others struggle to keep up with increased business levels.  The long-term technician shortage impacts shops facing either scenario.  Shops with too little business who reduce or eliminate a technician’s hours may find that replacing them when business returns is difficult or impossible.  Shops drowning in new work and looking for new technicians now may find that, even in this depressed job market, great technicians are hard to find and even harder to afford.

If your shop is hiring, it’s not likely to be easy.  Here are some tips that will help you with employee recruitment, identification and retention:

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop grow your business, call us at 855-294-6397 or email us at