The pandemic deeply affected the job market. Businesses, both big and small, were forced to shut their doors, close temporarily or drastically cut hours.
Unemployment numbers skyrocketed across the country as hundreds of thousands were left without a steady income.
Now, as another coronavirus surge seems to be ending, the job market is beginning to reopen.
The KFC Yum! Center, and organizations it contracts with, hosted a job fair Wednesday to hire 150 people.
All positions are focused on preparing for fall season events, which include concerts and University of Louisville basketball games.
Job seekers could fill out applications and complete interviews on the spot. Officials with the Yum! Center said they were open to hiring Wednesday morning, too.
While the job fair is an annual event, this year had more open positions available than in years past.
“We typically are only hiring for part-time positions at the job fair, but we’ve had about 20 full-time positions that we’ve added or had open up,” said Sandra Moran with the Yum! Center.
She said that the uptick in open positions is, in part, due to people leaving during the pandemic.
For those seeking jobs, the process has also been difficult.
“One company I put in [with], they emailed me back to pick a day to get interviewed, I picked it, they said ‘OK,’ and then two hours later [the website] just said ‘canceled’,” said Beverly Struggs, one of the people who came to the Yum! Center to apply for jobs.
Struggs worked at Humana for many years before the pandemic. The insurance provider moved to a mostly remote setup. Some jobs, including Struggs’, couldn’t be done remotely. That left her out of work.
While Struggs said Humana is a great company, the people from her department have not returned, and she needed to find some source of steady income.
So she came to the job fair hoping to find housekeeping work with the Yum! Center.
The job market has changed for both employers and employees which has caused some tension.
“Now, they want you to do 17 jobs up under ‘dishwasher’ and want to give you $10,” Struggs said. “That’s not gonna happen.”
She said she thinks it’s why people aren’t returning to work.
Many employers have expressed concerns about not being able to find people willing to return to work and for those that have, there has been a rash of strikes popping up across the country in protest of working conditions and pay.