Businesses are ready to hire. What is preventing workers from showing up?

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – The effects of a labor shortage are being felt at all levels. Businesses need to hire skilled workers, but few jobs are filled.

The latest figures from the state’s Commerce Department show North Carolina’s unemployment rate is 4.2% – up from 7.3% over the same period last year – 200,000 people are still unemployed.

A job fair in Charlotte Tuesday was a visual representation of what almost every industry is feeling right now.

Five companies set up booths ready to hire workers and only two people came looking for jobs while WBTV was there.

Dustin Jones drove Indian Trail looking for a new job.

“I’m looking for something that is going to be able to hold up during the pandemic if we shut down again, so a lot of different options. Right now I’m looking for something in a CDL or something on a desk, ”Jones said.

Jones will likely be lucky according to Kimberly Harris of the Career Center of the Southeast.

“It’s been a tough year, it’s been tough,” said Harris.

She said we are in the midst of a labor shortage and people are not rushing to their next job.

“Our job seekers are a different mentality that we work with. We’re very proud of them, they ask questions they’ve never asked before, we encourage them, they want to make smart choices, ”said Harris.

The Career Center of the Southeast has 400 vacancies in Charlotte alone.

The holidays are expected to create even more demand.

“Right now you see everything with logistics, with transportation, you know that my customers are in the industry and that there is a logistics shortage. You see it with the trucking industry, you see it with boating, everything that happened, so they were really affected, ”Harris said.

Jones is convinced he will find his next gig. He leaves the job fair with a few leads and the job market ready to welcome him.

“This is a great time to watch. People are desperate to hire, so when it comes to qualification, there’s a lot of paid on-the-job training and a lot of new positions are opening up, ”Jones said. “So now is the best time to go looking for a job – even if you have a job right now, now is the best time to go out and look for a job.”

Meanwhile, Harris said companies are trying to catch up to give workers what they are looking for – better wages and benefits. In the meantime, she fears that we are grappling with the effects of this shortage.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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