LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — After the release of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics February report, WFXR took a look at how the job market is being impacted locally.
Experts say that although the report shows a slight increase in unemployment, as well as a slowdown in hiring, there is still a high demand for workers in some industries.
In addition to healthcare jobs, Tim Saunders with Virginia Career Works says trade positions are seeing an increase in the region– largely due to a strong manufacturing presence in the area.
“Locally we’re still seeing a lot of hiring going on, employers are still adding positions and they are still looking for workers especially in areas of healthcare and manufacturing,” said Saunders.
Saunders says trade jobs often pay strong salaries even for those just starting out.
“There’s a lot of wage growth happening right now, in the trades, we are seeing some wages jump 5-10 thousand dollars per year,” said Saunders.
He adds that he expects this wage growth to continue over time and says there are several resources in the area that can help get people trained quickly.
“There’s a lot of money available right now at our community colleges to take classes for free for careers that relate to healthcare and manufacturing,” said Saunders.
Economist Gerald Prante from the University of Lynchburg adds that the slight increase in the unemployment rate nationwide may actually be a good thing.
“The unemployment rate went up, but you can see the amount of people employed went up, and the amount of people not in the labor force, basically people who aren’t working or aren’t looking, went down,” said Prante.
Prante adds that the current job market is fairly stable.
“It’s not strengthening, but it’s not weakening that quickly either,” said Prante.
He says the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates has not had a huge impact on the job market so far– but says it is unlikely that it won’t be disrupted later on.
Both Saunders and Prante agree, if you are looking to join the workforce, now is a good time to do so.