HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment fell to below six percent last month.

Despite the drop in unemployment numbers nationwide, these levels are still higher than they were pre-pandemic.

Locally, staffing agencies are feeling optimistic about more people seeking jobs, and more companies hiring.

According to a report done by WorkForce West Virginia, the Mountain State’s unemployment numbers are below the national average at five percent flat.

It’s the lowest unemployment rate since December of 2019 for the state of West Virginia.

For local recruitment agencies, navigating employment opportunities during the pandemic proved difficult.

“We’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way but we’ve been creative in trying to figure out how to recruit more aggressively than outside of the norm,” says David Bailey, branch manager for United Talent Staffing and Recruiting.

With the pandemic restrictions easing, Bailey says there is anticipation for more people seeking jobs.

“There are some out there that probably are not going to get the unemployment check anymore and they’re basically gonna wanna come out here and find a job,” Bailey says.

It seems that demand for employment is already going up: locally, staffing specialists say they’ve seen an influx of applicants in just the past two weeks.

“Based on the applicant pool that we got this morning, I would say we probably had about a 35 percent increase on applicants compared to last weekend’s batch,” Bailey says.

It’s this seemingly skyrocketing demand which led this company to host a walk-in hiring event Monday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

“We kinda opened up our doors to the public to come in at their convenience. We do have hundreds of jobs available, ready for placement,” says Amber Nolan, M.S., staffing specialist with United Talent Staffing and Recruiting.

Nolan does offer a word of caution to prospective job applicants:

“Don’t hang out too long, because they’re filling up! So then we’re gonna have the opposite problem, if you sit on the couch too long you might miss out on that perfect opportunity.”

The staffing specialists attribute some of the increase in demand to incentive programs like one announced by Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky—which promises a one-time $1,500 dollar bonus to the first 15,000 Kentuckians who return to work by July 30th.

If you’d like a shot at potentially getting a job this summer, United Talent Staffing and Recruiting is holding another hiring event on Wednesday, also from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

For more information, visit their website here.