Elkhart Co. jobless numbers not all good news

Elkhart Co., Ind. March brought Elkhart County its lowest unemployment rate in 6 years.

Even so, many of the county’s businesses say they’re having trouble filling positions with qualified applicants.

The jobless rate came in at 5.8 percent last month, a decrease from the more the 6.2 percent figure posted in February.

But despite there being fewer unemployed jobseekers, hiring signs continue to litter the sides of the county’s busiest roads.

“You’re at 5.8 percent and you still are looking for workers?” said Kyle Hannon, President of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce. “Why?”

According to some business managers, many of the county’s residents seeking employment have become discouraged and stopped looking.

In an interview with NewsCenter16’s reporting partner The Elkhart Truth, River Forest General Manager Doug Gaeddert went as far as saying that job seekers are “lazier” than they were a couple of years back.

Cynthia Doberenz, HR Manager at Cleer Vision Windows & Tempered Glass in Elkhart, says she can see where Gaeddert is coming from.

“Part of that's because we've made it too easy for people to stay home and collect unemployment,” Doberenz said. “So if you can earn as much in unemployment as you can by going out and working… where's the incentive to go out and get the job?

Doberenz said some applicants will start the process but never follow through. Others fail to take up the offer after they’ve been presented with a position.

For those who end up taking a job, some will only work for a matter of days before they decide the job is too hard or “not a good fit.”

The hiring trouble has left many wondering whether everyone who wants a job already has one.

“I'm not willing to say that 5.8 percent is the new full employment,” Hannon said. “I don’t think that's exactly what’s going on. There are still jobs that are offered, you have people looking for jobs and there's not necessarily a match.”

While it’s true that many businesses are having trouble finding qualified applicants – Hannon says the recent dip in unemployment numbers is a move in the right direction.

“It dropped this last month, I hope it drops again, I hope it continues to drop,” he said. “And I think our businesses and industries are doing well and we hope this will continue.”

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