As local unemployment struggles continue, head hunters point to shifting job interest

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:45 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The state of Georgia is considering cutting pandemic-related unemployment benefits. It comes after South Carolina made the decision to end them starting at the end of June.

While unemployment continues to be a problem here at home and across the country. We’re starting to see a shift in the kinds of jobs people are actually looking for. It’s something experts say they’ve never seen before.

Signs are plastered all over billboards and local businesses. They’re desperately looking for any help right now. Local head hunters say it’s a sign of the shift we’re seeing in many local industries across the CSRA. And ‘Now Hiring’ scripted across signs seems like a new company slogan these days.

Isaac Kelly is the Vice President of Augusta Staffing Job Search.

“Right now it is not where we were two years ago,” said Kelly. “Applications are definitely down across the board. I hear that from my competitors and from people across the nation as well.”

He’s used to helping 150 to 200 people a day. Now he says it’s more like 30 to 60.

“Its unemployment benefits as well as people just not wanting to work. It’s a mix of child care versus schedule availability,” he said.

Now we’re seeing a massive shift in the hospitality and food and beverage industries. Those people originally working in those jobs moved up during the pandemic leaving a major gap.

“Those people had to go to work so they took the jobs that were available at the warehouses, the manufacturers, and distributions, and logistics in our area. Now all of those positions are open and no one wants to take it,” he said.

And most people are shifting what jobs they’re looking for now on Indeed and Zip Recruiter.

“60 or 70 percent of those people are looking for remote work, work from home and only about nine percent of those jobs are actually available for work from home,” he said.

He says companies are doing anything to get people in the doors.

“We’ve already seen a massive increase in wages just to be more attractive for the positions that are open. We’ve also seen sign on bonuses and attendance incentives just to get people in the door to get the job done,” he said.

They say this workforce shortage won’t be a permanent change here. Augusta is known to rebound from this type of thing quickly. They expect this to last another four to six months.

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