business news in context, analysis with attitude

There is a piece in the New York Times that likely will resonate with a lot of employers, reporting that "all over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: They are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test.

"That hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies.

"But data suggest employers’ difficulties also reflect an increase in the use of drugs, especially marijuana — employers’ main gripe — and also heroin and other opioid drugs much in the news."

The story goes on to say that "data on the scope of the problem is sketchy because figures on job applicants who test positive for drugs miss the many people who simply skip tests they cannot pass. Nonetheless, in its most recent report, Quest Diagnostics, which has compiled employer-testing data since 1988, documented an increase for a second consecutive year in the percentage of American workers who tested positive for illicit drugs — to 4.7 percent in 2014 from 4.3 percent in 2013. And 2013 was the first year in a decade to show an increase."

It is worth reading here.
KC's View:
I've had this conversation with a number of store managers over the last few years, as they've commented to me that they are almost chronically understaffed because of the difficulty in finding employees who pass drug tests - and in some cases, these are drug tests being administered in places where marijuana has been legalized for medicinal or even recreational use. Which would seem to suggest that some companies may have to at least consider a change in testing policies that fly in the face of cultural realities.