• Southern N.S. has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Atlantic Canada

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    YARMOUTH, N.S. — Looking for a job? You’re in the right region. Last week there were 175 to 200-plus jobs listed on Indeed on any one day with Yarmouth entered as the location search.

    Vacancies ran the gamut from fish plant workers for Captain Little Seafood Ltd. ($15-$18/hr.); bartender at Rudders Seafood Restaurant & Brew Pub ($12.95 + tips); Fire

    Inspector and Enforcement officer for Municipality of the District of Argyle (salary dependent on qualifications); to a Surveying Drafter ($42,208 - $68,693 a year)

    Madalina Secareanu, Corporate Communications (Canada, Mexico & Brazil) for Indeed, says there has been a dramatic rise in job postings in the past year. Indeed is touted as the #1 job site in the world.

    “As of July 30, job postings in Nova Scotia were up 52 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels (February 2020),” she says.

    Many employers are having difficulties having those job postings filled.

    A local businesswoman in the region, who wishes to remain anonymous, says they advertised through the Canada Job Bank and received about 100 applications.

    “All of them were from out of the country. We received one application from a Canadian, whose reference did not check out,” she says.

    They also advertised through Facebook and "semi-received" some applications.

    “People would say they were applying, but wouldn't follow up and send their references; even when we took the time to write them back and ask for them.”

    The wage is $16 an hour for a kitchen job.

    “We are having to reduce our hours starting (this) week again due to lack of staff and may have to make further changes depending on what happens,” she says.

    “Honestly, I can tell you that it seems that younger people don't have the same respect as we did when we were young. Over the past years, we've had so many people do really unreliable things, like messaging 10 minutes before their shift to say, ‘it wasn't going to work out,’ not showing up, quitting with less than sufficient notice," she says. "We are fair employers, with a good working atmosphere and we provide training for everyone. It's very disheartening how easily people will leave you high and dry.”

    The Beandock Coffee & Collectibles in Shelburne also recently posted on Facebook that staffing levels were causing issues. "Due to lack of staff this summer we are only open

    Monday to Saturday and unable to do supper time and evenings. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

    Anna Maiorino, media relations officer for Statistics Canada/Government of Canada supplied data pertaining to the unemployment rate in the Southern Economic Region of Nova Scotia, which takes in Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby, Queens, and Lunenburg counties.

    “The current unemployment rate for the three months ending in July 2021 is 7.1 per cent. This compares with a year ago when the rate was 12.2 per cent. For the three months ending in July 2019, the unemployment rate in the Southern Economic Region was similar to July 2021, at 7.7 per cent,” she says.

    While the Southern Nova Scotia region has the lowest Atlantic number for July (7.1 per cent), Maiorino says due to sampling variability, it would be more accurate to say it has “one of the lowest” rates among Atlantic Canada Economic Regions.

    Rick Allwright, executive director at Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce and co-owner of Mile East Productions, says he’d like to know how many people are not even looking for work.

    “Because if they don’t consider them looking for work then they are not considered unemployed," he says.

    He says that the situation is certainly an issue.

    “Many businesses are operating at reduced capacity, or the employees they do have are working extra hours. Especially the food and beverage industry. Members just cannot find people," says Allwright.

    He uses some local fast food businesses as an example that are now employing mostly immigrants.

    He adds that this is a country-wide problem, not just here. And he believes it’s only going to get worse as the baby boomers retire.

    “We’re not going to have the people to fill those positions. Some people have decided after COVID that they’re not going back to work if they can’t do it from home and employers aren’t adapting," he says.

    "I don’t know what the solutions are but it’s definitely an issue.”

    Carla Allen