Unemployment claims continue with pandemic, but some jobs open for hire

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Their doors are closed to the public right now, but the staff at the local WorkForce West Virginia office say they’re as busy as ever.

The closed doors didn’t stop people from trying to speak to someone in person on Monday.
People like Nicholas Nguyen, who says he lost his job as a nail technician in March but has yet to receive unemployment benefits.

“There’s no cooperation and it’s painful to deal with the phone, you need to talk about the situation with a human being better than you do with the phone – you’ll wait forever,” said Nguyen.

He’s not alone, as unemployment claims continue to come in from across the state, and the state says they’re also dealing with investigating fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims.

The central office for WorkForce West Virginia in Charleston says they went from receiving 3,000 to 5,000 claims a month to over 379,000 since the pandemic hit.

At the Charleston Area Alliance, their CEO and President, Matthew Ballard says the jobs that suffered the most were in the retail and service sector.

“We are seeing some sectors that are hiring at least in our market,” he said.

Those include the technology firms Infor and N3, which the Charleston Alliance recruited to the area.

Ballard says remote working is big now and has also created a demand for backup IT installers in the region.

He’s also seen more people working side gigs for food delivery services like GrubHub, and he says demand for machinists and welders are also up among local manufacturers.

A quick search of Indeed shows more than 2500 jobs listed in charleston alone – most in healthcare for the Charleston Area Medical Center.

For those who don’t have specialized experience, Ballard advises to keep being persistent and “upscaling” oneself if you can.

“Whether you’re looking to get a certificate or an online course, or get a degree, now might be a good time to do that,” he said.

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