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Employers struggle to hire after height of pandemic

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says there are still fewer job openings now than prior to the height of the pandemic
Posted at 5:32 PM, May 04, 2021

CAÑON CITY — There is no shortage of job openings in southern Colorado, rather a shortage of interested applicants.

“Usually when we put an ad out that we’re hiring, we tend to just get a lot of responses... This time around, this year, not so much," said Jeremy Ketchie, the Supervisor with Mission Ready Tree Service.

The company has had a job listing up for roughly two months but says they have only received two applications so far.

"We typically pay better than industry standard, but it still doesn't seem to attract much as far as help."

Over 2,000 job listings are posted on indeed.com for Pueblo alone. Plus, several other companies in Pueblo, including Alta Convenience stores, Two Moms and a Broom Cleaning Company, SoCo Disinfection, and Global Callcenter Solutions all say they are facing the same dilemma.

“Anecdotally, yes we are hearing similar stories of employers having a hard time filling positions," said Monicque Aragon, an Economist with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Employers are also complaining that people are not showing up to job interviews they have scheduled. Like many, Ketchie believes the lack of interest is a result of unemployment benefits.

“Unemployment and stimulus checks, ya know. It’s more beneficial for some people to stay at home and not work.”

However, the CDLE says the problem could stem from a number of causes, including schools that are still participating in online learning and fears people have of interacting with new people on a day-to-day basis.

"We are still in a global pandemic. There are still major health concerns... What’s their risk in going to a public-facing job, spending all day there... Another thing with timing is school’s not out yet!” said Aragon.

The lack of staff is drastically impacting these businesses in need of extra help.

“The show must go on, we still have to work, so it makes for longer days. It makes some of us have to wear many hats to be able to accomplish the goal, but at the end of the day we have to complete the mission," said Ketchie. He believes people should take advantage of the abundant employment opportunities before it is too late.

"The pandemic's gonna end at some point. Ya know, the free money if you want to say that, it will end at some point, and unfortunately, the bills don't!"

Several other local companies hiring in Southern Colorado include:

If you know of other available listings that you feel should be added to this list, please reach out to natalie.chuck@koaa.com