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Omaha jobs sit open in tight labor market: 'We don't have enough people that are able to take those positions'

Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 14, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If you have a business in Omaha, what's your number one problem? Hiring. That's what 84% of businesses surveyed told the state department of labor.

"We often find ourselves in the community as having one person and two jobs to fill. So the challenge there is to match. But we also know that we just don't have enough people available for the occupations that need to be filled," said Erin Porterfield, the executive director of Heartland Workforce Solutions.

Porterfield said she sees a disconnect between job seekers and those hiring.

"We hear from businesses that they are not getting the quantity of applicants. We are hearing from applicants that they aren't yet getting that opportunity to talk about what their skills are," Porterfield said.

The top reasons businesses claim they are having trouble hiring are not enough applicants, a lack of work experience and the wage demands being too high.

"We know that some of the lower wage positions are harder to get people. So businesses are doing what they can to raise that wage so that they can come competitive with their peers," Porterfield said.

And even with an unemployment rate of 2%, people are still looking for jobs.

"So far we've applied for Dairy Queen and we did get one call back. Me and my son both applied," said Omaha resident Amanda Thurman.

Thurman said she has her first interview next week and said coming to this office to apply actually helped.

"It's amazing. I've actually had more responses applying up here at the workforce than we have on our own," Thurman said.

Heartland Workforce Solutions is almost like a matchmaker, but there's a hitch.

"We don't have enough people that are able to take those positions," Porterfield said.

How many jobs are there in the state? The Nebraska Works website showed more than 52,000 jobs open and the majority are right here in Douglas County.

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