YUMA — March job numbers are out, and despite unemployment nationwide sitting at a solid 5.5%, reports say here in Yuma County, those numbers are much higher — more than 20 percent.
Local experts say those numbers aren’t accurate. That’s because Yuma County’s job market is underemployed and the county faces a skills gap problem.
This means over qualified people are taking jobs below their skill set, while open positions remain unfilled because of lack of skills in the area.
Julie Engle of the Great Yuma Economic Development Corporation says companies like Yuma Proving Grounds and the Yuma Regional Medical Center have had to recruit skills from elsewhere, which sometimes leads to retention issues.
Temporary jobs may be a factor along with Yuma’s climate — especially in the summer.
Another big reason is spouses and partners of workers who relocate may not be able to find jobs with the skill set they possess.
Health and lab work, call centers, forensic accounting, and even government jobs, homeland security, and police force work are jobs in high demand in Yuma County.
Local experts say changes are being made to fix the underemployment in Yuma County and the skills gap is slowly but surely shrinking.