With economy in recovery, residents seek re-employment

Panama City

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — “I’ve been looking for something I wish I could call a career,” said Nigel Archer-Shee, Panama City resident.

Archer-Shee said he’s been searching for a job since he got out of the Army three years ago.

“Since then I’ve been kind of doing the house-husband thing,” he said.

He said he has been able to secure temporary construction jobs in the area, which felt like progress. But once COVID-19 hit, it was back to square one.

“The COVID thing kind of… I had a job here for a month and then you know they let people off and then go search for another thing and then they said they’re not hiring anybody,” he said. “You know, maximum capacity in stores and such but it’s limiting the number of employees that people can have and unfortunately, if you’re trying to make a buck. You can’t get in.”

He added that many of his friends who were laid off have also had a hard time finding re-employment.

“Unfortunately, majority of my friends lost their jobs and a few of them lost everything,” Archer-Shee said. “So I’m blessed in a way.”

But Brittany Rock, CareerSource Gulf Coast director of communication, says that they have not had any issues finding jobs for clients who have been laid off and are looking for re-employment.

“We’ve seen over 17,000 residents in Bay County alone apply for reemployment assistance, which accounts for about 20% of our workforce here,” Rock said. “Even looking at our unemployment rate back in April it was well over 10% almost at 11% and recently in September, it dropped to 4.6%. So it’s been consistently decreasing over the past nine months which is a really good sign that our workforce is recovering from this pandemic.”

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