(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With pandemic-related unemployment benefits ending this Saturday, the search for a job heats up in St. Joseph.
Wednesday, two dozen local businesses filled up East Hills Shopping Center in hopes of finding future employees and help them return to the workforce after a year plagued with financial hardships due to COVID-19.
“Employers are sitting in such a bad situation because it’s been really hard to get good employees," said Rhabecca Boerkircher, Account Executive for Eagle Communications.
While Missouri's weekly pandemic aid helped relieve some financial burden for families struggling to pay bills this past year, like the Smiths, they said it wasn't near enough help.
“No, especially when you got two car payments, insurance, maintenance, phone bills and utility bills. It’s just not enough,” said Ray Smith, job seeker.
Dad and Daughter duo, Ray and Destiny Smith, attended the Midland Empire Job Fair together. The pair said they hoped to find a new opportunity to pay the bills after a year without a steady paycheck.
“It’s been off and on for me. I just lost mine last May, so I’m trying to find another,” said Smith.
With the funding ending this weekend for Missouri residents, the race is on to find a job intensifies.
One of the 24 businesses with a booth, American Family Insurance, said they were pleasantly surprised with turnout. Agents said the future looks brighter.
"There’s all these signs of progress. We’ve had a lot of responses as far as finding people who are willing to get back into the workforce and really want to work,” said Patrick Lile, American Family Insurance Agent.
For those who missed the job fair, click here to see a list of area employers looking to hire.