DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — New figures that were just released show the nation’s unemployment rate tumbled last month to its lowest point since the start of the pandemic, but with so many businesses still struggling to fill critical jobs, is the low unemployment rate really such good news?
The Alabama Department of Labor released new data that shows the number of job ads is up more than fifty percent than they were last year. This means businesses are desperate to get the workers they need in the door.
According to Ann Carr, the Executive Director at Southeast AlabamaWorks with over two thousand jobs available in Houston County alone and about 1,199 individuals collecting unemployment, there aren’t enough workers to fill these roles.
“It is so crucial right now,” Carr said. “If anyone has the opportunity to get a job, they need to do it now.”
The five occupations that need to hire the most workers continue to be in the medical field, retail workers, customer service, sales representatives, and truck drivers.
In October, there were close to 15,000 ads in the state of Alabama for those occupations alone. This is a stressful situation because not too long ago, the table was turned.
“It was where we had more people looking for work than there were jobs available,” Carr said. “That was very heartbreaking as well because you wanted to help each and every one of them find that successful career, and now we are on the opposite end.”
Right now, it’s a job-seekers market, which is why Carr encourages those who are looking to get back or start in the workforce to get out there.
She tells WDHN News companies now more than ever, are willing to train, hire, and place workers in the field they desire. Experts expect it’ll be like this until the beginning of next year.
“We are seeing businesses that are willing to take a chance on individuals that they may have been a little more selective not to give those opportunities in the past, to me I see that as a positive,” Carr said.
And right now, since unemployment in Houston County and across the county is low, that just means these organizations are having to get more creative to try to pull more people back into the workforce, like going into neighborhoods and finding out what is keeping potential workers home.
“We have to figure a way to increase our labor force participation rate and find out what are those things that are keeping them from being able to take that next step,” Carr said.
With more jobs than there are job seekers, Carr said organizations like her own have been working hard to fill these critical roles, but she believes it’s going to take a lot more time and effort to bring people back into the workforce.