Calhoun County jobs available, lack of qualified applicants


Calhoun County leaders say more jobs are available in the area. However, there's a new problem with businesses finding the right employees.

New Flyer of America, a bus manufacturing company, celebrated its multi-million dollar expansion in Anniston on Friday.

"New Flyer currently employs 750 people. They've added probably 160 people in the last year," Don Hopper, Executive Director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Council said.

Calhoun County leaders say they want to keep the momentum going by bringing in new industries.

"When a company is looking they want to see success, they want to see how are other companies doing," Hopper explained, "and we tout that when we're talking to local companies as well as new companies that will potentially be looking."

A University of Alabama study says more jobs are becoming available in the state than before the Great Recession ten years ago.

In September 2017 to September 2018 there were almost 30,000 jobs created in Alabama.

"We had a hiring fair recently where we had 70 companies represented," Carl Brady, Workforce Program Manager for East Alabama Works said. "Those 70 companies had 1,600 job openings that they needed to fill immediately."

While the economy grows and more jobs become available there's still a lack of skilled workers to fill those positions.

"Everybody who wants a job has a job. The people who don't have jobs, it's not that they can't find a job, but maybe they can't find a job that they're qualified for," Brady mentioned.

According to the University of Alabama study, as of September of 2018, there weren't any counties in the state that had a double digit unemployment rate.

The highest rate was 9.7 percent in Wilcox County. The lowest was 2.8 percent in Shelby County.

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