Low unemployment creates competitive job market

Published 4:32 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

Ricky Littleton of the Alabama Career Center System had good news on the Alabama job front during a presentation to the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce.

“Our unemployment is the lowest it has been since 2001,” Littleton said.

With 32 and a half years of experience for the department of labor, Littleton projected that unemployment will continue to decrease and wages will increase.

Littleton said many employers are looking for people to fill empty positions. The Alabama Career Center System helps employers find and train applicants.

“It is a government program that is designed to take this person that is not working, who has just gotten out of the military or has been laid off due to no fault of their own is just unemployed. It is designed to give the company assistance in hiring these people and their training,” Littleton said.

The free program also offers skills training, on-the-job training and a job board.

Employers can qualify for reimbursement of training costs of employees through the program.

“It can save you a lot of money. First off, there is very little paperwork on your end,” Littleton said. “All we do is give you a check back for to potentially 50 to 75 percent of the first three to six months depending on the job.”

Littleton said the amount that an employer can receive can depend on the size of the company with smaller companies eligible to receive more reimbursement than larger companies.

“There is different criteria but we can save you money,” Littleton said

He said many people think there is a catch because the program seems too good to be true. However, Littleton assured the audience that there are no catches.

“It is all about advertising needs,” Littleton said.

The center even makes its office space available for interviews and job fairs.

The website joblink.alabama.gov is a job board open to Alabama employers through the center.

On the day of the presentation, there were 5,700 companies within 50 miles of Alabaster had jobs posted on the website.

Littleton said as employment goes down the job market gets more competitive.

“Even truck driving don’t need two or three years of experience anymore,” Littleton said.

He said steel and coal industries in Alabama were hiring a lot of people right now.

“Every coal company in Alabama is hiring right now,” Littleton said.

He said many in the training programs offered by the Alabama Career Center System who do not have jobs are being hired in their desired field before they even complete the training.