The Escondido Chamber of Commerce held an in-person, socially distanced job fair Thursday that featured 500 job openings, but organizers say despite the large number of vacancies many employers are reporting they are having a difficult time getting enough candidates to apply.
The latest jobs report from the federal government showed an unemployment rate of 6.1%, the lowest it has been since the pandemic began. While the rate is good news for the economy, it's still well above the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 3.5%.
Despite the thousands of unemployed Americans, many employers are reporting they are having a difficult time filling job openings. The government has estimated that the economy was growing at an annual pace of 6.4% in the first three months of this year.
Thursday employers from across San Diego County advertised job openings at a job fair hosted by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. CSL Staffing Agency, a local agency based in Escondido said they had 350 job openings they were looking to fill, the most they've ever had at one time in the past four years.
"Definitely having to struggle to find candidates, we don't have enough people applying through our sites," said Vianey de la Cruz from CSL Staffing.
She said companies are having to get creative to come up with incentives to try to get more candidates to apply.
"The way that we're getting a little bit more creative with different businesses is providing an incentive, so some companies are providing a bonus of three-month retention program where you know they're offering $300, $500 for candidates to work with them. Also higher pay rates so pay rates are definitely going up higher," she said.
The President of Escondido's Chamber of Commerce, James Rowten, says he's noticing a similar trend. That's why the chamber will be hosting two more in person job fairs in the coming weeks.
"If you're looking for a job, I have to say this is a great time to get up and get in here and start getting involved. We need the economy built back again and it seems as though everybody is ready and poised to do that," Rowten said.