Some Nebraska businesses are finding that the state's unemployment numbers may actually be too low as many available job openings are going unfilled.
The unemployment rate in the Norfolk Nebraska area has been hovering around three percent for the past year. While that's good news economically, many area employers say there isn't a big enough labor force in the area to keep up with the available jobs out there.
Officials with Nucor Steel in Norfolk say they have openings from engineering and manager positions on down to metallurgists. They say while there are some area resources...for the most part job openings aren't being filled. Doyle Hopper, Nucor Vulcraft Manager: "We do very well with our colleges and our recruiting, but as we're looking again for more of that technical help, it just seems harder and harder to find."
It's not just Nucor that can't find workers right now. Many area businesses are looking outside of the region for help, and have begun partnering with city officials. You might recall the Norfolk Area Chamber unveiled the Norfolk Now initiative back in November.
It's part of the Chamber's new "Grow Norfolk" branch, which officials say is meant to advocate the city and its available jobs to a wider regional base. Dennis Houston, Norfolk Chamber President: "as a Chamber with our Grow Norfolk initiative, we can go out and carry that message on behalf of not just one business, but all the job and career opportunities that we have in the Norfolk Area."
The Chamber recently hired a "Grow Norfolk" director specifically to recruit potential residents to the area.
Chamber officials say about 40% of Norfolk workers will be hitting retirement age over the next few years amounting to about 5,000 people. As a result, both employers and city officials say there is a definite sense of urgency to reinvigorate the area job force with people from outside of town.
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