My son started his Summer job this week, which focused my attention on the local job market more than it normally would. I had been telling him for some time that he had his pick of jobs because “Everyone is hiring”. As I drive around town, it seems that every business has a “Now Hiring” sign, and some don’t even have enough workers to open their doors for service. He was excited to think that he had his pick of places to work.
However, to my surprise, many of these businesses aren’t really hiring. Since he’s living in Knoxville for school, he applied at several of his ideal Summer jobs in the Knoxville market, and he didn’t even get a call back. When he followed up, he was told the jobs were filled, and he would need to reapply on their website. I found it strange that places looking for workers wouldn’t pursue people asking to work. Where have these jobs gone?
Then things started to get more confusing as some of my friends and clients were let go from jobs they’d had for many years. They had similar things to say as they looked for new jobs and considered what to do with their future. Below are some of my friend’s comments posted on Facebook related to his new job search:
- “Everyone is accepting applications but not hiring.”
“I was not qualified for stock/ night stock – 15 years of retail/stocking experience.”
“Pay is lower than two years ago when I was looking.”
“How do they know I am not a fit for the job if they never spoke to me?”
“The position was just filled last week.”
So, what do we do in these uncertain times and job markets? The best answer I have is to plan ahead in the good times. I saw this in motion earlier this week as the Blount Partnership held its membership drive. Blount County has been on a hot streak lately landing major employers like Amazon and Smith & Wesson, but the Blount Partnership doesn’t stop trying to make the region better. Along with its members, the partnership does a tremendous job of capitalizing on the good times to help position our community to be one of the best regions in our country. The partnership continually tries to bring a diversified set of jobs into the area to help us thrive in good times and insulate the region against downturns in the national economy.