Low unemployment creates worker shortage for area businesses

By  | 

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY)- Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in nearly two decades.

The State Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday the unemployment rate last month was just 3.2 percent. That's the lowest since February of 2000.

The report shows that state added 7,500 private sector jobs between March and April this year.

That low unemployment rate is great for job seekers but not necessarily for businesses looking to hire. Right now a lot of businesses in our area are struggling to find enough help.

At Ardy and Ed's Drive-In in Oshkosh the low unemployment rate is having a noticeable effect, according to co-owner Steve Davis who says recruiting workers hasn't been easy.

"What really made me know that there's something different is like this time of the year right now we used to get people coming in like crazy that were just out of college and stuff looking for summer jobs, and they're just not coming," said Davis.

That's led Davis to make a tough decision to close the restaurant on Mondays and reduce hours the other six days by closing at 9 pm, instead of 10 pm.

It's the type of problem a lot businesses right now are dealing with.

Chanda Anderson, who owns the Caramel Crisp & Café in Oshkosh, said, "I've always been kind of lucky but there are times you know kitchen staff and such where it's really hard to fill those positions, and you might have an opening for months, whereas it use to be three days before you would get a good application."

Anthony Snyder is the CEO of the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board. He added, "There's also highly skilled technical jobs available, too. Jobs in welding, jobs in manufacturing, jobs in warehouses, jobs driving forklifts."

Snyder says it's not just restaurants struggling to hire. A large number of skilled positions are also going unfilled.

"In our counties that we represent, there's about a thousand open jobs right now that need to be filled," said Snyder.

As a result, a number of places are now going to the extra mile to attract workers who might not otherwise take notice.

Davis said, "We've done more different types of advertising and spent more on stuff than we've spent ever, and you just don't see people walk in the door."

We welcome comments and civil discussions. powered by Disqus