Officials discuss the downside to low unemployment

Local News

GRIMES — Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Governor Kim Reynolds were here in Iowa to talk about workforce development and learn more about what they can do to find skilled workers for the jobs that need filled here in Iowa.

“We enjoy low unemployment. But finding people, good quality people, is tough.”

It’s a struggle Nevin Suddarth with Alvine Engineering in Des Moines knows first hand. “It’s taken a good five years to find the quality people with the knowledge of electrical and mechanical plumbing and technology engineering.”

Suddarth says the low unemployment rate in Iowa makes the pool of applicants they can choose from smaller. “It’s tough to find people who want to make a change, who want to go somewhere else because they already have a job.”

This isn’t just happening in Des Moines. It’s a problem throughout Iowa and across the country.

“Workforce continues to be a top priority. It’s one of our biggest challenges in the state to really see the economy grow at the capacity that we have, but it’s also one of the biggest opportunities that we can provide Iowans and new people coming to this state,” says Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Iowa’s 2.4 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the nation. Signs of a strong economy. But something that can cause issues when it comes to hiring.

“Often times its easy to say there just aren’t workers or we have to bring workers in from other states, but there are so many great workers who are on the sidelines of our economy who haven’t been afforded the chance,” says Ivanka Trump.

Ivanka suggests companies invest in apprenticeship programs and in on-the-job training. That way current employees don’t lose jobs as technology advances. “We need to be thinking about and ensuring that there’s opportunities for them to learn a new trade or acquire a new skill.”

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