The Colorado Unemployment rate in February 2020 was 2.5%. April 2020 shows a much different result – 11.3%. We all know why – do I have to say the dreaded word? – that this extreme swing has taken place. And on the hiring front, we are seeing additional burdens that come with the opportunity to make things right for those unemployed. There are a lot of unknowns right now; but in regard to hiring, we are seeing a glimpse of the challenges ahead.
The Unemployment Challenge
Along with typical Colorado Unemployment payments, beneficiaries receive an additional $600 benefit per week under the CARES Act. Those individuals are also getting additional stimulus income.
There are many jobs paying less than what a candidate would be making to not work right now. Why return to work if you can receive more on Unemployment? This is a real question in today’s market.
In Colorado, if a salaried employee made $18 per hour, they earned $720 per week. They typically would make $432 per week on Unemployment and are receiving an extra $600 per week. That means they are making $1,032 a week plus any additional stimulus payments. It’s like being paid $25.80 per hour or getting a 43% pay increase.
Employers seeking to hire are truly in competition right now – not only with their business competitors seeking the same talent but with the state’s unemployment benefits. It’s a large hiring hurdle to overcome with no end date currently in sight.
The Working Challenge
Those who are working in skilled trades are WORKING – this has not changed! In February, it was tough to find qualified candidates in general, especially those ready to move from their current jobs. Even more so now, they are scared to move.
The currently employed have job security, offering them safety and consistency during a global pandemic and economic crisis…in a time when that is rare. It’s safer to stay than make a move to a new company only to worry about a company’s business outlook when you knew what you had prior was good.
Hesitation of the employed is a big challenge right now for employers seeking to hire.
The Weather Challenge
Have you SEEN Colorado in the summertime? It’s gorgeous. Everyone wants to get out into the fresh air and sunshine now more than ever. Those not working want to take advantage of what their home state has to offer during the quieter weekdays when the trails aren’t crowded and the mornings are sunny but cool.
A lot fewer phone calls are answered and a lot more time is spent enjoying the outdoors. It’s always a challenge to overcome with summer hiring – but this year there is the extra challenge of high unemployment and hitting the hiking trails.
“I’ll take just another day off on my job search.” Can you blame them? Look out the window!
The Uncertainty Challenge
What’s next? What’s to come? What if I get sick? What if I do lose my job? There are a lot of questions right now but few have answers. Restaurants and stores are starting to open, but what does that mean for the skilled trades labor market? Will construction projects pick up?
It’s hard to have answers when the decision-makers don’t have the answers themselves. It makes sense to many that it feels safer to stay put than to put yourself out there again on the job hunt.
Skilled trades job seekers, know that you are NEEDED and that you have a place in this market right now. And if you aren’t sure what to do with your career, consider one in the skilled trades! Your skillset will always be needed.
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