Main unemployed cite skills mismatch and COVID-19 concerns as top barriers to employment
Sept. 16 – There is a shortage of workers in Maine’s economy, but job seekers are struggling to re-enter the workforce because jobs don’t match their skills and other concerns, according to an investigation released Thursday by the Maine Department of Labor.
The July survey of more than 2,600 UI claimants and active job seekers found 34% cited job and skill mismatches and 31% cited concerns related to COVID-19. Job quality issues were also among the top complaints, with 29% citing insufficient wages. Another 15 percent cited the lack of child care.
“This investigation reinforces the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to getting the people of Maine back to work,” said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman.
Other barriers cited by respondents included age discrimination, difficulty securing interviews in a competitive market, and self-employment challenges related to the economic recession.
The survey also asked respondents what they needed to return to work. Most, some 32 percent, said they needed a relevant job opportunity or lead. Another 20 percent cited additional job training opportunities. Some 14% said affordable housing, which has been a critical issue as housing and rental prices rise.
About 600 people have filed initial unemployment insurance claims for the week ending 9/11, down 100 from the previous week, the Maine Department of Labor said Thursday.