The Labor Department released its recent jobless claims report, and it showed several interesting things. First, our national economy has experienced the smallest number of new unemployment filings since March 2020, signaling that the labor market keeps recovering from the pandemic. Secondly, as the number of first-time unemployment filers drop, there continues to be a simultaneous and skyrocketing demand for workers; in addition, economic growth is slowing, inflation is rising (5.3%), a record number of people are quitting their jobs (over 3% of all workers), and wages and salaries are the highest they have been on record (increased by 1.5% quarterly).

Government data shows that there are more jobs available than there are unemployed people, which means that local businesses are working harder to attract talent. The talent issue is the number one concern for all local businesses; many have had to trim their operating hours, increase wages and improve benefits just to maintain their operations. Through the Chippewa Economic Development Corporation’s (CEDC’s) Business Expansion and Retention Program (BEAR), the CEDC helped these local businesses with their talent needs by organizing and promoting 3 job fairs during the last six months.

Currently, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 14 million Americans are neither working nor looking for work! In August, a record high of nearly 3% of American workers quit their jobs and September data shows nearly a quarter of workers ages 20 to 34 were not considered part of the U.S. workforce. Over 35 local companies participated in the latest CEDC Chippewa Valley Job Fair, hoping to encourage those people to find rewarding, life-changing work.

Organized around a Halloween theme, the job fair provided available talent a chance to meet up with local businesses and discuss wage and benefit offerings. Decorated in Halloween themed booths, participating companies highlighted their work culture, job openings, and benefits. The “Trick or Treat” job fair also gave local students a glimpse into the career opportunities available to them in the future, allowed them a safe place to Trick or Treat, and provided their parents the opportunity to explore job opportunities.