Piedmont Triad businesses searching for workers

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — There are 8.1 million open jobs in the U.S., which is a 20-year high according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Thousands of openings are in the Piedmont Triad.

“We’re having to step in and do a lot ourselves since we don’t have enough staff,” said Kimberly Fernandez, the co-owner of Taco Port Tex-Mex Restaurant in Greensboro.

She and her husband opened the restaurant on Spring Garden Street in March of this year. They’re seeing more customers feel comfortable stopping in and grab a bite to eat.

Fernandez needs more staff but has had trouble finding people willing and able to work. “It’s a little challenging, a little disappointing when they really don’t want to work.”

“We want to be able to hire people,” she said. “We want people to know that they can come here and find a good team to work with.”

Fernandez isn’t the only business owner looking to hire new employees.

“Seemingly overnight we went from 50 positions per month being posted to two to three thousand job openings now coming available,” said Chris Rivera, the executive director of GuilfordWorks, which helps match job seekers and employers.

Rivera told FOX8 some job openings are not being fulfilled for several reasons including the pandemic.

People are hesitant because of possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. Some job seekers need to stay home to take care of a loved one or child.

“It’s not reasonable or responsible for individuals to be expected to grab ahold of any type of job,” Rivera said.

People are going back to school or training, seeking a higher degree, or waiting for a higher paying job that matches their skillset.

“Individuals are interested in getting back into the workforce for the right types of opportunities,” he said.

Fernandez told FOX8 she’s had applicants make the cut but didn’t accept the job offer.

“We’ve had a lot of people that we’ve reached out to that’s said oh, we’re just applying because we have to show that we’re seeking employment,” she said.

Fernandez thinks the extra $300 dollar unemployment benefit each week has kept able people from working.

“I don’t think that’s really the issue here,” Rivera said. “I think that it’s about fit and the types of positions that are being opened up and that individuals may or may not have the skills needed to get connected to them.”

Employers are offering more incentives to hire workers including sign-on bonuses or extra vacation time. People who receive unemployment checks are required to search for at least three jobs a week and keep a record of it.

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