A job fair in the South Carolina vacation town of Myrtle Beach was canceled this year because only 30% of the companies usually attending the expo had planned to return. But before you think this is a bleak sign that the recession is getting worse, there’s this fact: 70% of these companies say they are hiring. So why scrap the job fair if almost everyone is looking for employees?
It turns out that the reason isn’t lack of jobs. It’s that employers don’t really need to go out and look for potential hires.
“Anytime someone says they have jobs, they’re getting overwhelmed with applications,” Stephen Greene, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association, explained, adding that employers are going through their thick backlog of resumes instead of openly advertising open positions. “Why would I come to a job expo if I already have people to fill it?”
Experts expect this “buyer’s market” attitude to continue for the foreseeable future.
“As unemployment climbs from 5 to 10 to 15 percent, all of the power goes to businesses,” says Don Schunk, a research economist at Coastal Carolina University. “When it’s 5 percent, workers can pick and choose who they want to work for.”
There are some that go so far to say that canceling the job fair was ultimately a good thing for the morale of the unemployed.
“We’ve talked to a lot of people who have been unemployed for a long time and they get discouraged,” says Mary Nell Smith, director of the Coastal Workforce Center. “They go to a place like a small job fair and there’s like 100 people for a couple positions.”
Job fair cut in Myrtle Beach for lack of jobs [The Sun News]