New Year, Same Struggling Job Market

Posted by & filed under Wilmington Business Journal Articles.

BY COREY LEWIS – FOUNDER, OWNER AND PRESIDENT, CAPE FEAR JOBS

 

Here we are, already nearing the end of the first quarter of 2018, and one thing’s for sure, some things never change, especially with the job market.

It flat out sucks… unless, of course, you hear that unemployment is at four percent and think all is good. It’s not. Running numbers is not the same as talking – and listening – to the businesses that are struggling day-to-day to find great employees or the job seekers pounding the pavement every day.

But let’s talk first about the good things happening with the job market. The national economy is booming, confidence in the markets is strong, and the outlook of our nation prospering is positive.

The national job numbers are some of the best that I, as a veteran corporate recruiter, have seen in many years. Companies are hiring and moving back to the U.S., the numbers keep climbing, and people are excited… unless you reside in the Cape Fear region.

The area is growing rapidly, population-wise, with new residential and mixed-use developments popping up and targeted marketing campaigns aimed at bringing people to live in our area.

The question looms – “Where are they going to work?” The topics of job growth and workforce development come up often in lower sectors, yet no one talks about workforce development for median job seekers and employer development.

But it doesn’t start – or end – there.

As I travel around the region talking to job seekers and employers, there is a trifecta consensus:

Employers say there’s a lack of a qualified workforce

Job seekers say there’s a lack of quality well-paying jobs

There’s a lack of understanding on both sides, with minimal community support at the median jobs and income level

The heart of the problem is simple – a lack of honest communication between every sector trying to fix this problem. The bridge of communication in our region, as it relates to jobs, is severely broken and Cape Fear Jobs’ goal is to build that bridge back.

Our jobs problem didn’t happen overnight…and it won’t get fixed overnight. So, where do we start?

The truth is our job market is in a lot of “right-now” trouble. I do believe jobs will come. Once the U.S. 421 corridor is freed up, and once industrial development replaces residential development, I believe our leaders will help bring in corporations with hundreds if not thousands of jobs.

But “right now” is a long way away so what do we do until then? It starts by helping develop what we already have in place. We help businesses hire better, smarter and faster, allowing them to bring in and retain more talent.

Secondly, we help what I call “The Middle” job seeker population, the ones outside the four percent – the trailing spouse who is relocating, the under-employed and the experienced job seekers who are working but in desperate need to make a change. In my opinion, “The Middle” makes up at least 25 percent of our population, if not more, and these are the citizens who are the heart and soul of this economy and community. The focus needs to be there.

Watch for my next article on April 1 that centers on The Middle, and if you are interested in reading the original article, “2018: A New Year…The Same’ole Job Market: An Honest Assessment About Jobs in the Cape Fear,” in its entirety, I encourage you to visit the Cape Fear Jobs blog.

 

Corey Lewis has more than 20 years of management, business development and project management experience across the retail, construction and staffing verticals. Entering into the recruiting industry in 2007 as an Executive Recruiter, Lewis spent the next seven years honing his recruiting skills and leading a local agency in developing the manufacturing sector of the company. With the support of his wife, Corey started his own boutique firm, Alliance Career Group based in Wilmington, while designing the basis for the company that would come to be known as Cape Fear Jobs. Corey found his passion for helping a struggling jobs economy in the Cape Fear Region and in 2016, Cape Fear Jobs was born. Visit the Cape Fear Jobs website or call (910) 782-2142.

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