No celebration for jobless on this Labor Day
A job fair here in Yuma last week was a stark reminder that this Labor Day is not a day of celebration for many people who remain without a job.
More than 3,000 people lined up at the Yuma Private Industry Council event which hosted about 50 employers looking for workers. And there were jobs to be had. Unfortunately, the number of jobs was in the hundreds while the number of unemployed seeking jobs was in the thousands.
It is a picture that has been seen repeatedly over the last several years of the economic downturn. In fact, one worker commented that he had been unemployed for three years. Long-term unemployment like that has been a particularly troubling aspect of this downturn.
That worker told our reporter that he doesn't have the skills to match the jobs available and he has been trying to upgrade them. But, being unemployed, he lacked the money to do what he would like to do.
A number of people commented that was a problem for them. Jobs required skills they did not have and they didn't have the ability to get those skills while being unemployed. It is a classic Catch 22 situation.
The reality is jobs do require more skills and more education. Those who have less that a high school education are practically unemployable now. Even those with only a high school degree are having a hard time — their unemployment rate is among the highest right now. Workers with college educations have done well in the downturn, for the most part.
Obviously, education is the key and will be in the future. That is why the Yuma Union High School District is implementing its new curriculum that emphasizes preparing students for college or post-secondary training.
There are open jobs now and there will continue to be in the future — but workers must have the needed skills if they are to succeed. It is something to keep in mind this Labor Day.