GREAT FALLS — Kelly and Lee Mitchell are among the many Montanans searching for work during the pandemic.
“Since last March, I was five and a half years working, and got laid off,” Lee said.
“I just started today the search — I’ve never searched before,” Kelly said.
State researchers estimated in May that as many as 75,000 jobs could be lost in the state from the recession, according to research from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
But in Great Falls, there may be more opportunity than meets the eye. Express Employment Professionals hosted a drive-through job fair on Thursday, hoping to fill more than 30 full- and part-time positions in a variety of fields in Great Falls, with wages ranging from $12 to $25 per hour.
Like the rest of the state and country, Great Falls saw record unemployment earlier in the year. Unemployment rates skyrocketed from 3.8% to 12.2% between March and April 2020 in the Electric City, and on a steady decline to 6.9% by June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
But not every local industry is experiencing the pandemic in the same way. BLS data shows that in April, wage and salary employment in Great Falls’ leisure and hospitality industry shrunk by over 50% from the year prior, while most other industries saw only single-digit drops.
Despite the disparities, McKinney said he is grateful for the chance to put workers with the companies who need them.
“We just don’t want people to be left behind,” he said. “While the folks in Washington are sorting that out, there are businesses in our area that are still open, staying busy, and need help.”
For more information about jobs in our area, click here to visit the website, or call 406-761-3027.