Devils Lake continues to reel from understaffing and economic crunch

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE - Devils Lake continues to storm through rough waters with its community spirit and feeling of hometown pride while continuing to weather the hardships of economic hardships of the suppressed economy.

Restaurants in town still are accommodating short staffing by changing their hours of operation, going to a drive through only model, have drive through open at only certain times, and limiting their selections in dine in restaurants. 

The local post office said they are still trying to accommodate short staffing which now includes carriers covering multiple routes and clerks continuing to fill in where needed. Earlier this year postal services held a statewide job fair in an effort to fill positions in the area, though it has not assisted in the needs of the post office, where a "now hiring banner still hangs at the front door.   

Residents around town have commented on the noticeable people shortages in their local establishments. 

The declining work shortage comes after over two years of suffering the effects of the pandemic, which wreaked havoc on the already small community as well as factors including the growing trend of younger generations of residents moving out of the area, including high school graduates moving away for college and families relocating for employment needs. 

Local McDonald's advertises for prospective employees on their highway signage.

While the job shortage is proving a strain on businesses, it it not an entirely bad thing for recent graduates.  According to a search at job websites including indeed, linkedin, and ziprecruiter, Devils Lake had over 190 job openings in the area ranging from part-time, fulltime, temporary and remote work, including positions at the local law enforcement center, post office, restaurants including McDonalds, Applebee's and others, and other local businesses.  With an estimated population of 7,000 this leaves an employment need in the city of about 37%.

Some of the job postings included: 

  • Insurance salesperson at Platinum insurance
  • Admissions Counselor with Human Learning Systems
  • Bait Shop Clerk at Woodland's 
  • Marketing Coordinator at Northstar Credit Union 
  • Nurses with various healthcare facilities
  • Walmart Employees 
  • Weldors, electricians and more. 

(Editor's Note: this list does not intend to list all available employment in Devils Lake and surrounding areas. For a complete list of job openings in the area, visit ziprecruiter.com, indeed.com or linkedin.com. If you have a position you would like to make known to the journal, email us at news@devilslakejournal.com) 

Interested applicants should contact the businesses directly for more information.

Along with staff shortages, businesses in general continue to see a decline, with local businesses like JS Wholesale, located on Railroad Avenue, and U.S Bank closing due to economic struggles.  Buildings continue to sit vacant in the city including building  like JS Wholesale, Ihry Insurance Agency Inc., Leevers South, and several buildings along Hwy 2. that once held businesses including restaurants, car shops, and agricultural businesses. 

Other entities in the area including farming retailers, car mechanics and furniture retailers continue to say they have orders backed up due to material shortages and have hard time finding parts. 

But holding to that same fighting spirit, Devils Lake continues to push forward and persevere onward with the motto "forward Devils Lake," as the summer kicks off.  The city recently held its annual Devils Lake Run event earlier in the month which saw massive visitation to the city, boosting the economy, even for a short while. While the summer begins to kick off, local officials and businesses predict some uptick in business with fisherman coming to fish on the historic Devils Lake, visitors coming to the Spirit Lake Casino and people passing through Devils Lake on their way to other hotspots in the state.