Some Central California communities struggling to fill job openings

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Unemployment rates have dropped across the country in the last couple of years - and Central California is no exception.

For example, in March, Tulare County was at 8.4%, whereas last year it was at 12.8%. Kings County was at 7.5% and last year, it was at 11.7%

"It's always a positive thing when we see the unemployment rates go down, but you still have a lot of companies where workers are working remotely from home," says Steven Gutierrez. "One of the major industries impacted was leisure and hospitality."

Cities like Visalia, Kingsburg, Fresno, Clovis and Merced are also facing challenges to fill multiple job openings.

"In my view, this has been the toughest year," says Visalia Mayor Steve Nelsen. "In some of the positions we have open, other cities have them open."

Nelsen says they currently have 15 full-time positions open in different departments.

""Solid waste, information system, I mean the list goes on," he said.

Nelsen says he is proud of his team and wants to encourage people to not only take a look at their openings but give themselves an opportunity.

"Look at the qualifications and if there are 10 things and you have nine, still ask for the interview," he said. "You may be surprised."

A surprise Gutierrez says won't always come around.

"This is that unique period of time where employers might be more willing to hire an individual that may not have that skill set," he said.

Mayor Nelsen says they're also brainstorming ideas like creating internship opportunities -- helping drive traffic to the city workforce.
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