GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Grand Rapids-area local staffing companies say they are struggling to find qualified candidates for open positions.
Michigan's July unemployment rate of 8.8% is down from 9.3% the same time last year. The Grand Rapids metro area also saw a year-to-year decrease. The unemployment rate in the Grand Rapids metro area in July was 7.5% down from 7.9% in July 2012.
But Staffing Inc., which fills open positions for companies, says it is having problems finding qualified applicants.
Shelley Keller, the director of business development at Staffing Inc., said the company has seen more companies coming to them because they are also having problems finding qualified workers.
"Its just getting harder and harder to find qualified people. Pay rates are going up and everyone is hiring right now. So people have more choice to find a job," Keller explained.
Staffing Inc. held a job fair Wednesday in Grand Rapids in hopes of finding workers to fill around 150 open jobs.
Keller said the majority of the open positions they have are in manufacturing, but that there are also positions in office administration and even engineering.
Keller with Staffing Inc. said from their viewpoint the hiring will continue in West Michigan.
"From what we're seeing, the economy is very strong very healthy and growing and we don't see any dip anytime soon," Keller said.
But at the job fair, 24 Hour News 8 met Don Nelson, a father of two and out of work for almost a year.
"I just want to find work and that is why I am here today -- to tell them give me anything they have," said Nelson.
Nelson, who has a college education, said he has been looking for work ever since he lost his job and has not been successful.
"I'm behind on my mortgage payments right now," he said. "They are ready for foreclose on me. So I'm doing anything I can to get work, to make sure I keep a roof over my kids' heads."
Nelson said he never thought he would be a position like this.
"I thought because I went to college and got my degrees that would guarantee me a good job, but I found out the hard way it doesn't," he said.
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