PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–If you drive around Bay County, there’s help wanted signs everywhere. It seems almost every industry is in search of employees. But where are the workers? Those working in the hiring fields say the COVID-19 pandemic may be leaving a lasting impact on the labor force.
Since the pandemic began, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment. In the beginning, many job seekers were scared to re-enter the workforce because of the virus. But those fears have since calmed.
“We’re glad that has died away but now, the reason they don’t want to work is because they’re getting paid to stay at home,” said Larry Burton, the owner of Snelling Staffing Services.
Snelling staffing services in Panama City places job seekers in open positions. They also work with local companies to recruit potential employees. His office staff has been serving on the frontlines of the labor force since last March. They say the vacancies are there.
“We have a little bit from administrative clerical to accounting positions, staff accountants, delivery drivers, carpentry, so we literally have a little bit of everything,” said Cyndie Hilburn, Snelling Staffing Service’s Office Manager.
But not enough people are applying.
“I think we’ve got people that are used to staying at home. We have people that say ‘do you have jobs that I can work at home?'” Burton said.
Alecia Flatt, the owner of Pana Roma Pizza on W. 23rd Street knows this struggle all too well. Her restaurant is in great need of line cooks, experienced pizza makers, and servers.
“We have been, like I said, advertising since last July and we have had maybe 3 or 4 applications,” Flatt said.
Many businesses’ in the area are even offering incentives to attract employees. But that isn’t always a solution.
“Being a small mom and pop, it’s a little bit harder to do sign-on bonuses. We’re also competing with the beach that hires in at a higher rate,” Flatt said.
For a list of jobs available in Bay County, visit the following links. https://www.snelling.com/job_seekers-employment-opportunities/job-search-1/#/jobSearch