With almost half of all Arizonans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and new infection rates dropping dramatically, our economy is poised to resurge. Businesses are ready to return to pre-pandemic norms as communities reopen.
There’s only one more thing that’s needed: workers.
There’s disagreement among economists and policy experts on why the national demand for labor seems to be outpacing supply. Lingering concerns about the virus and workplace safety; the scarcity of child care; and federally-enhanced unemployment benefits are the most common culprits cited.
Locally and statewide, however, we are seeing efforts to encourage people back into the workforce and events designed to connect businesses with the employees they need.
Last month, Governor Doug Ducey announced a “Back to Work” program to accelerate the transition from unemployment to work. Included in the bundle of initiatives is a one-time bonus of $2,000 to eligible unemployed individuals who get a full-time job (or $1,000 for a part-time job).
Simultaneously, the governor is pulling Arizona out of the pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits program. Under the America Rescue Plan, the additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits were to be extended to Labor Day, but in Arizona, the enhancements will end as of July 10.
Meanwhile, the pace of local job fairs and events are picking up. Next week alone, the Flagstaff Downtown Business Alliance (DBA) will host a two-day “Job Walk,” where those looking for work can drop off applications and resumes at participating businesses. The DBA also has a running list of job openings on their website.
Meanwhile, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona will have its own hiring event from 10 am to 5 pm on June 17 at their Career Center in their location near the Flagstaff Mall. Positions range from retail management to donation attendants to merchandise processors.
New businesses that have recently come to Flagstaff also are building their staffs. Highgate Senior Living, the new assisted living facility on McMillan Mesa has several openings, as does UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, a leading manufacturer of automotive parts for electric vehicles which took over a portion of the former Walgreens distribution center off of East Huntington Drive earlier this year.
We wish everyone – businesses and new employees both – a smooth transition into what can only be a better future for everyone as our economy gears back up.