CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have been struggling to find workers and keep them.
According to research, the unemployment rate is at least 5.20 percent in the month of April for the Corpus Christi-Kingsville area, compared to five percent last month. That's higher than the statewide unemployment rate of only four percent.
Businesses of all sizes are feeling the impact of losing reliable and dedicated workers.
Bobbie Grooms is the owner and director of Calallen After School Care Center. She opened it in 2017 with her husband in. Then the pandemic hit, forcing her and existing workers to step up.
"It's been a struggling since then, keeping employees," said Grooms, "The girls that we do have are good and they come all the time, but they are struggling to because they are having to work long days, they're tired, they want maybe a day off or something like that. So it's really hard to get people in."
Now, three years later, grooms says she's still struggling to find and keep workers. She tries finding them through indeed posts, word of mouth, and even social media.
"So alot of people that we have hired, they'll come in. They have experience, they'll work for a little bit and they just don't come back," Grooms said.
But she's not alone. Companies of all sizes are having a hard time. So the biggest question is why aren't people working?
Jim Lee, an economic professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi says now more than ever, a lot of people who are looking for work are getting very choosy and they want to have flexibility with their work.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people may be working temporary jobs and when it ends, they're out of there. Experts say many people are also looking for higher pay, more job flexibility, work life balance, and many of them still rely on unemployment benefits.
"With covid, every body wants something a little bit different," said Lee, "We kind of expected this, but it's kind of hard to see this last this long."
For now, there doesn't seem to be a "one answer fits all" when it comes to why people aren't working. However, this could be a start to understanding why companies are being impacted the most, even three years from a global shutdown. For Grooms, she's hoping to hire people that actually want to work and consistently build a career.
If you are looking for a job in child care, Grooms says perspective employees must first love working with children then pass a background check with fingerprinting. There are openings for part time and full time positions with competitive pay, a sign on bonus, weekends off and holidays off. You can also bring your own children to work, if needed. Click the link for more information on the Calallen After School Care Center.
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