ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene had its first in person job fair since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.
The event was put on Wednesday by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce and Abilene Industrial Foundation.
According to a survey conducted by event organizers, 69% of Abilene businesses say they are ready to hire right now.
“We have over 5,000 jobs that are open right now in Abilene,” said Marissa Ransted, director of talent development for the Abilene Industrial Foundation.
Ransted says not only are employers in the Key City ready to hire now, it’s important that they do.
“If the community continues to have those jobs open, it will have a negative economic impact on the community,” Ransted says.
Angel Salcedo says that’s why he attended the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Hire Now job fair.
“Our economy would drastically fail on that, and that’s something I don’t want to have happen, and if I can do my part, I absolutely am going to do that,” said Salcedo.
Salcedo says he knows people who have chosen not to work so they could reap the benefits of unemployment.
“If you can work, let’s get to it,” said Salcedo.
Ransted attributes the current comforts of unemployment benefits to why some people haven’t taken a new job yet.
“Once people are on unemployment, they want to find a job that is close to the same wage as their career opportunity before, otherwise their unemployment benefits decrease,” said Ransted.
Ransted says those benefits will go until August, but 4 months is a long time to go with thousands of jobs left vacant.
“It’s not bad to have an unemployment rate of about 6 percent, it just means that we have labor and talent available to fill those positions,” said Ransted.