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Centre County Jobs

Yesterday’s employment numbers showed a drop in jobless claims across the country, last week. But how’s the outlook in Centre County?

Douglas Braff spoke with PA Career Link and some local business owners

We’ve seen near record lows in jobless claims since the end of last year. But finding new workers has been a huge labor for businesses.

“So what’s actually happened across the nation, and here locally, is the workforce is shrinking and that’s a result of changing demographics.”

“It is hard to find someone who is willing to work and stay with it for more than a short period of time, or that just don’t bother to show up for work even when they are scheduled to be here.”

Judy Fitzgerald from Pa Career Link tells me why we have a smaller workforce now, despite Centre County having a 3.5 percent unemployment rate.

“I think last are 2 million baby boomers were expected to retire, but actually 3 million did.”

“During the pandemic, people left the workforce for reasons like maybe taking care of families.”

“We haven’t maintained a healthy birth rate to replace ourselves in the workforce.”

Not even mentioning a large number wanting to work remotely, when there are not enough remote jobs other reasons include

“People are prolonging their time at home. People are getting married later in life, so they don’t have the financial push to, you know, go out and find long-term employment.”

But, there are barriers to employment. Fitzgerald tells me some of those can be

“…Low skills, education, transportation, housing.”

“Initially I thought maybe it was a pay and we then raised our pay to try to, you know, entice people to come in that sort of thing. But it’s just the number of qualified applicants.”

Josh Chalfa’s searched two years for a second auto mechanic.

“You know, if I put out an ad to get hired, we might only get at best one or two people that apply. And typically those one or two people are maybe somebody that hasn’t had work experience in the industry, or gone to school for it, or anything like that.”

You only have to look next door to Nature’s Cover for someone seeking workers.

“Just a matter of, maybe an inconvenience of their personal life, as far as other things to do. Or, of course, there’s always the times where there’s something better available.”

“And some of it’s just as easy as driving a truck or putting stones in a bag.”

Paula Furl tells me more truck drivers would increase their delivery capacity.

“If you had more staffing, you would be able to run a few more trucks and then you could accommodate those who didn’t plan a weekend ahead to, to get material for the weekends, especially if the weekend’s gonna be nice.”

Career Link will be at a job fair May 10th, at the Central Pa Institute of Science and Technology.


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