Low Unemployment Rates Benefit Job Seekers, Hinder Some Companies

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Sioux Falls officials say the city has the lowest unemployment rate at 2.4 percent.

The national average is double that.

While many are proud of the city’s booming economy, it can also create challenges for some companies.

“Our industry is kind of a dying trade,” says Brian Jans, the president of Jans Corporation. “Not a lot of people come out of school and want to get into manual labor.”

Jans says for the last three years, he he’s had a hard time filling open positions.

“It’s been primarily more the blue collar skilled workforce,” says Jans.

He needs certified welders, concrete finishers and carpenters.

But there’s a shortage, and Jans says the area’s low unemployment rate is to blame.

“There’s not a lot of people waiting on the bench to get hired, so you’re looking at people that already have a job that want to switch companies they work for or switch careers,” says Jans.

Greg Johnson with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation says it’s a tough balance to have enough available job opportunities and enough workers.

“Employers demand for workforce and job seekers demand for the next career opportunity that they have,” says Johnson.

In Sioux Falls alone, Johnson says there’s 4,517 job openings but only 3,600 people who are unemployed.

“We’re always looking for more workers within our state and graduates from high schools and post-secondary,” says Johnson.

Jans says that’s the route his company is going as well, recruiting from the Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls since students there learn job skills in school.

He says the more he can build up his staffing levels, the more his company can build in the Sioux Empire.

“Obviously there is lot of work out there that we’d like to go after more, but you are hindered at what you can do based on your capabilities,” says Jans.

The Department of Labor says they’re bringing workers back to South Dakota with their “Dakota Roots” program.

Since 2006, the department says thousands have returned to join the workforce.

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