The job market in Springfield is filled with career opportunities.
“There are more jobs available than we have workers,” said Ryan McCrady, president and chief executive officer of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance.
He estimated that 5,000 jobs representing most, if not all, employment sectors are available in the Springfield metropolitan area.
The pandemic continues as one of the biggest contributors to the high number of job vacancies, McCrady said. Springfield-area workers are like millions of other Americans who quit jobs over the last two years causing a reshaping of the labor market.
Among them are older workers who accelerated retirement over COVID-19 health concerns, McCrady said. Also, dramatic gains in the investment markets, until recently, beefed up portfolios allowing others to comfortably leave careers.
Family responsibilities also caused some women to leave the workforce to care for children who were not in school or whose school attendance was not predictable due to the pandemic. More than 600,000 women remain out of the labor force in May 2022 than in February 2020, according to a National Women’s Law Center analysis of the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Still, others have gone into the gig economy like freelancing information technology work or driving for Uber, according to McCrady.
The most recent BLS data shows the Springfield area exceeded the pre-pandemic employment rate. In February 2020, the area had 107,100 workers. As of April, 108,100 people are employed.
Not only are more jobs available, but the hourly wage has increased.
“Labor is definitely going up. Employers are paying more, even than they were a year ago,” McCrady said.
As of April, the average hourly wage in the Springfield metropolitan area was $30. In 2019, the average was $24.54 an hour, resulting in a 22 percent increase in three years, according to McCrady.
“Employers are still actively looking for employees,” McCrady said. “Prospects for college graduates, prospects for anybody are positive here in our community.”
Kinzy Buhrman graduated from the University of Illinois Springfield in May with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. She was hired as a caseworker specialist at Rutledge Youth Foundation in Springfield.
Buhrman said she spent a month searching for jobs. She applied for about 15 jobs and received three offers. Two were in Springfield.
“Springfield has a lot of opportunities. I’m only speaking of my field, but I didn’t have any issues finding positions to apply for.”
The search for prospective hires could be improving for some employers, too.
Springfield School District 186 hosted a job fair recently to fill 52 certified vacancies and 104 classified jobs, according to Lyn Williams, the district’s staffing supervisor.
“The district has had struggles like many other employers, Williams said, “however as of late, we’re encouraged by the number of potential employees who have expressed interests in working for District 186.”
Contact Royale Bonds: [email protected], twitter.com/@Royale59699722.