MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) – As the national unemployment rate continues to slowly drop, hundreds of people looking for a new job went to Madisonville, to apply for nearly 1,200 job openings across the region.
“Our employers are hurting. We need employees,” said Hillary Croft of the Hopkins Co. Job Expo.
Nearly 350 people went table to table, in search for that new job and new opportunity.
“We’ve got lots of nursing positions that are available, we’re looking for a plasmatologist, maintenance positions available,” said Jessie Springfield, head of nursing at the Western Kentucky Veterans Center.
“My field is heavy equipment repair, but I’m possibly looking at engaging in different areas,” said Joey Gibson, who lives with his wife in Tennessee, but is looking for a new job closer to be closer to family.
“Our parents, my wife’s and mine parents, are aging and we thought it might be effective to be in this area,” he explained.
Nearly 1,200 jobs were on the table for prospective workers, about three times the number of last year’s Hopkins County Job Expo. It happens at the national unemployment rate sits at just below 6%, while Kentucky’s unemployment rate is less than 5%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says Indiana’s is at about 4%, and Illinois is more than 7% as of April. Some businesses say it’s gotten harder to find workers due to a more competitive recruiting environment, or because of COVID-19 burnout.
“A lot of times, with COVID especially, health care facilities offering different incentives just to get people in door, and things of that nature, so it makes it more competitive to get people in the door to help,” Springfield explained.
One major factor here in the job market, locally, and nationally, is the job search requirement to get unemployment benefits. Kentucky was one of several states who recently put those requirements in, so that those on unemployment can get those benefits.
“Now that that’s back in play, we had a lot of people that are receiving unemployment benefits that, in order to keep that, they’re going to have to be here today looking for a job,” said Croft.
(This story was originally published on June 8, 2021)