Jobs outlook looking up
There’s good and bad news on the job front in Haywood County.
While the 5.9 percent unemployment rate in Haywood is lower than the 6.6 percent state average, there were still 1,671 individuals seeking the available 400 jobs in the county, according to March statistics.
Dale West, the director of the Haywood office of the Division of Workforce Solutions, (formerly Employment Security Commission), said the number of local job postings is higher than it has been in months.
“To have this many jobs posted is probably the best it has been in a while,” said West. “I’m new to the Haywood labor market, but if you look at the statistics from a year ago, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent.”
In February, West took over the top spot in the Waynesville office, replacing Virginia Gribble, who retired in December. West spends about three days of the week in Haywood and splits the rest of her time overseeing the offices in Macon, Jackson and Swain counties.
“We are so closely connected, it makes sense we try to promote what we have and serve everyone,” she added.
The statewide job website, www.ncworks.gov, makes job searches easier than ever before, West said.
Employers can enter job openings directly online, as can those looking for jobs.
“The beauty of this system is it will find jobs posted in different places and spider them into the state network," West said.
For instance if a corporate retailer posts jobs on its website, those posted listings can flow into the state system and direct those seeking jobs on how to apply.
The Division of Workforce Solutions in Haywood currently has 81 employers that list job openings through the office while the rest are spidered into the system.
“We provide that face-to-face assistance folks can’t get from a computer or a website,” West said. “We really try to assist individuals any way we can. We are here to provide re-employment, not just job matching. There are a lot of other things going on in this office.”
In addition to job training opportunities regularly offered, the Workforce Solutions site helps in preparing resumes, completing job applications and even tips on interviewing skills.
“We call this one-stop shopping,” West said, noting that there are workshops going on daily thanks to partnerships with entities such as Haywood Community College.
The rest of the job openings — about 300 — that can be seen during a search for jobs in Haywood at ncworks.gov are those pulled from other job listings where individuals apply directly to the listing company.
Employees searching for jobs can post a resume and qualifications online as well. To protect certain information, they can select which portions they want potential employers to see. All information posted can be viewed by the Workforce Solutions staff, and if an employer inquires about an applicant, staffers will call to see if they want to contact them.
Many of the Haywood job openings are entry level positions or in the hospitality industry and pay less than $10 an hour, but there are openings in other fields such as the medical field or in construction that pay more.
Samantha Welch, a staffing specialist with Manpower in Waynesville, agreed there are more job openings in Haywood than there have been in past months.
“We see a lot of growth trending, and there are three manufacturing companies that are expanding, so are seeing a lot of growth,” she said.
Welch said the majority of the jobs are entry level and in the $8.50 to $9.25 a hour and offer benefits through Manpower.
Employers often use private employment agencies to funnel employees their way. Employers who hire through the agency often hire those placed in temporary positions if their performance meets standards.