Job fairs abound as employers struggle to find workers

It seems just about every week now we’re telling you about a different job fair taking place.

We’re told part of the reason for all the job fairs is due to businesses having a tough time time finding workers.

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The unemployment rate in Hawaii now stands at 2.7 percent.

Minimum wage is currently $9.25 and it’s going to go up again in January to $10.10.

The State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations told KHON2 that’s a pretty decent wage, but it’s not always enough to draw people in.

Employers also told us it’s hard to get applicants to even show up for the interview.

“We’re not very particular right now,” said Bryan Andaya, vice president and chief operating officer for L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. “If you’re willing to work, you want a job, we’ll hire you.”

The state said the unemployment rate is the lowest its been in 10 years.

“It’s usually these kinds of minimum-wage type jobs, or close like those, retail, sales, that are having the most difficult time finding employees,” said Linda Chu Takayama, director of the state labor department.

Just last week, Grace’s Inn in Aiea announced it would be closing its doors because it can’t find enough workers.

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue says it’s dealing with its own share of staffing struggles.

“I would say about 30 percent of applicants don’t even show up for their first interview,” Andaya said. “A lot of them don’t even show up for their very first day. I would say 20 percent of those that are hired don’t even show up for their shift.”

Andaya says people are looking for more than just a paycheck.

“They want to make a difference. They want a job to have some meaning and significance to them other than just a paycheck. It’s very, very difficult for restaurants, especially quick-service restaurants like ours, to offer that,” he said.

“I would say to them, they have to be prepared to be a little more creative,” Chu Takayama said. “It is a competitive market. They might have to offer a little bit more in order to get the good employees.”

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