OSWEGO, NY (N.C.C NEWS) – Enrollment numbers at the Oswego County Workforce Career Center have doubled every month since August. Growing to approximately 700 customers in November.
According to Rachel Pierce, the Director of the Career Center, even though so many workers in Oswego County are reentering the labor force all at once it’s a job seekers market.
“Now is the time where job seekers can pick and choose what they want to do,” Pierce said. “They can choose where they want to work. A lot of businesses are very desperate to get bodies to fill the positions and do the work that they have.”
Because this is the case, people who are rejoining the work force are gravitating towards certain sectors over others. Most notable is a preference for restaurant jobs and an aversion to construction and manual labor. Jobs in the foodservice industry offer higher wages, less physically demanding work, and, most importantly, a greater degree of flexibility.
[In] the service industry there are long hours,” said Pierce. “It’s not a 9-5 job ever, it’s a lot of nights and weekends which is hard to find childcare in those areas, but they are jobs that are a little flexible on the hours. But construction is typically early morning, and you work until the job’s done or the sun’s down.”
Tom Miner, the Owner of Miner Improvements, a contracting company that specializes in carpentry work, experienced this lack of interest firsthand over the past 18 months. According to him, the job listing he’s posted on the Oswego County Workforce’s website and Facebook page hasn’t received any applicants.
“I’ve gotten zero,” Miner said. “Absolutely nobody’s called.”
Miner’s first job listing included a pay of $16 hour but after little interest he updated the pay, so it ranged from $16 to $35 per hour. The problem is that he can only raise wages so much before he has to pass that cost along to his customers. When that happens it often means that the job becomes to cost prohibitive for potential customers; again, leaving him with no work. Over the past year and a half he said he’s reduced his workload from one home improvement job per week to only once a month.
“In the last year and a half, I’d say I’ve probably lost close to ninety-thousand-dollars or better because I just can’t spit out these jobs as quickly as I want to,” said Miner.
The worst part is Miner say’s he’s out of ideas about how to turn the situation around.
“I been scratching my head,” said Miner. “It’s been keeping me up at nights. How do I get some help? How do I entice somebody to come and feel the passion that I do?”