The Woodward News

Local News

January 30, 2007

Jobs still hard to fill locally

Help wanted. Now hiring. Accepting applications.

These messages can be seen on signs in front of several businesses throughout Woodward,

And they appear to be signs of success.

Although the signs point out that many local businesses are struggling to find qualified workers, they also point to the fact that Woodward’s economy is strong and flourishing.

“Our economy is good right now; our unemployment rate speaks to that,” said Karla Pummel, center manager of Woodward Workforce Oklahoma Career Center.

With an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, Woodward County has one of the lowest rates in the state, well below the state average of 4 percent.

“That means a good number of people are working,” Pummel said.

But while this is a positive thing for those workers and for the city’s economy, it creates problems for employers.

“It makes it hard for employers to find workers,” Pummel said.

She said the career center, which lists job orders on its website, currently has over 70 jobs listed and has recently had over 100 jobs listed.

It seems that all types of businesses from a variety of sectors are experiencing the same employment struggles.

“I can’t say there is any one particular employer or field that is having more trouble than any other,” Pummel said.

However, Pummel suggested the success of the oil and gas industry may have caused problems for businesses in other industries.

“It’s hard for employers that don’t pay the kind of wages that the oilfield does to compete with that,” she said.

Several local employers agreed with Pummel.

“When they can go to the oilfield and make three times as much as they can in food, it’s kind of hard to compete,” said Tracy Wyatt, general manager of Arby’s.

Wyatt, who said she had been having problems finding workers for about six months, said she has tried everything to entice applicants from displaying a help wanted sign to placing ads in the paper to filing a job order with the employment agency.

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