COLORADO SPRINGS — The unemployment rate is dropping in the state of Colorado, and the number of open job positions in the Pikes Peak Region are going up.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, in March 2022, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%. It’s the lowest rate since February 2020 when it was at 2.8%, right before the pandemic hit.
Plus, right now, there are 16,000 available jobs in the Pikes Peak Region. Six months ago, it was around 13,000.
It's good news for job seekers, but it's been a challenge for employers and businesses looking to hire.
“We have more open jobs than we have people looking for work. So it's a bit of a job seekers' market,” said Becca Tonn, the communications manager at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center. “It’s great, because the economy is booming and things are moving forward in the Pikes Peak Region, which is wonderful news, but it does it does present perhaps challenges for the businesses.”
Tonn says now, employers are offering incentives like hiring and retention bonuses. Meanwhile, job seekers are being more selective in the jobs they're looking for.
“They're looking for quality jobs. That includes the culture of the organization, flexibility, and of course, sustainable wages,” says Tonn.
On Wednesday, the Workforce Center hosted one of their largest job fairs of the year. Different kinds of industries were hiring including education, manufacturing, construction, city and county government, health care, retail and hospitality.
“I lost my job back in January and so I’m just bringing back full circle, trying to look for a job in education and family services,” said Angelica Marquez, a job seeker at the job fair. “I feel like, they're not only interviewing me, but I’m interviewing with them at this point too.”
Right now, education, health care, retail and hospitality are among the local industries still struggling to hire.
For Beltha Enow, she learned at the job fair that it is a job seeker’s market and her future employer will be ready to hire.
“I realized that in the united states there's a lot there's a need for healthcare workers, and that is why I decided to get into the field of nursing,” said Enow. “I was telling one company, I was like, ‘I’m so ready.’ And they're like, ‘Yes, Monday, we are ready for you.”
The Pikes Peak Workforce Center is also hosting a 3-day military expo next week. It’s happening from Monday to Wednesday. Veterans, active duty, national guard, reserve and military spouses are welcome to attend.
For more information about the event, click here.