It’s no secret that we are seeing economic growth in Northwest Arkansas, beyond simple post-recession recovery. While employments numbers are at an almost record high, officials are still concerned about the future employment growth.

What’s the issue with future employment growth in NWARK?

A recent article by Michael Tilley in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal explains the concerns perfectly. According to the article, the region added more than 15,000 jobs in the first five months of 2017. The region is going to set a record for annual job growth despite losing more than 1,000 jobs at Wal-Mart Stores alone. Most of the job growth has been in four sectors: professional and business services, transportation and utilities, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services.

Not seeing the problem yet? It’s this: According to Mike Harvey, chief operating officer at the Northwest Arkansas Council, with such an incredibly low unemployment rate, Northwest Arkansas can’t grow unless we are able to recruit and retain the best workers. Because of this fact, workforce training and recruitment has been one of the Council’s top priorities.

The article spoke well of the current numbers and what needs to happen in the future but we at On Time Logistics want to speak to another employment issue that is happening now.

Current employment issues in NWARK

With unemployment numbers so low, those who have quality jobs open are struggling to find the right people for those jobs. For example, we are always on the lookout for great drivers and independent contract couriers.

Here is what we, along with other friends in the NWA region, are seeing as the reason for the problems:

Not enough people looking– With unemployment numbers so low, fewer people are looking for jobs. This doesn’t mean people are fully employed, however. A growing number of people have a main job but need side hustles to make ends meet. These types of people need more awareness of jobs, such as independent contract couriers, that allow for flexible schedules that make them a perfect part-time job.

Misunderstandings about the work-Many jobs that don’t fall into the most popular categories are often misunderstood. People think of driving as a job that will take them away from home for days, or that the job means they will get dirty. Neither are true, at least in our case. Manufacturing jobs, which are also making a comeback in the region, often face the misnomer that all jobs they offer will be dirty.

Lack of training-A final cause to the problem is that the workforce that is already in Northwest Arkansas and that will be moving here are not properly trained for the available positions. It makes sense that companies, especially those requiring technical skills, need trained employees. Local community colleges such as Northwest Technical Institute and Northwest Arkansas Community College are working to help bridge this gap by providing quality training for various skilled trades industries.

What employment issues are you seeing in Northwest Arkansas? What needs to happen in this area to make your company successful? If you need a job, even just part-time, don’t forget that we are hiring for drivers and couriers in Northwest Arkansas, Little Rock and Tulsa.