HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — Alabama is seeing the lowest unemployment rate the state has ever seen. However, with a sea of help wanted signs flooding the Wiregrass, how good are these low numbers?
Zack’s Family Restaurant, a Circle City favorite has been constantly hiring for the past two years.
“We’ve been doing more business than what we got help for,” Zack Whaley, the owner of Zack’s Family Restaurant said. “We are just busting to get it done.”
Even though they are seeing better numbers, they are still struggling to keep a full staff. The restaurant employs close to 40 workers and right now, they have only 33 on staff.
“How long they will stay, I don’t know, I mean it still has been turning over a lot,” Whaley said.
For the month of March, Alabama saw an unemployment rate of 2.9%, with Dothan’s being lower than the state’s rate at 2.6%. Houston County is slightly lower at a 2.4% unemployment rate.
According to Ann Carr, with Southeast Alabama Works, there are many reasons behind so many open positions.
“A lot of that can stem from an aging population, that is retiring, residual effects from the pandemic, it could be from the lack of skilled traits,” Carr said.
The retail, hospitality, and restaurant industries aren’t the only ones being impacted. The medical industry is also having trouble filling vacant positions and it’s not just for nursing. Hospitals are in desperate need of technicians, transporters, and administrative personnel.
Those are just four of the top five industries in need. Transportation has the most need for workers in the Wiregrass.
“Now you have businesses like restaurants and hotels who were not able to serve customers as much
during that time period, it’s now summertime, there is a lot of traveling,” Carr said.
That on top of the demand for products which has actually increased is the reason why Carr believes the state is seeing lower unemployment rates while still having a lot of jobs to fill.
Patience among the community, especially while some workers are transitioning and returning to work, is vital for businesses like Zack’s Family Restaurant.
“It takes a lot of time to get them acclimated to the dealings of customers, to deal with the new orders,” Whaley said.
If you are in need of help finding employment or looking to grow in a different career field, you are urged to reach out to southeast Alabama works for assistance.