FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- For the first time since the statewide shutdown in April, all counties in Northeast Indiana have seen unemployment drop to below five percent, which is considered full employment.
However, Rachel Blakeman, the Director of the Community Research Institute says a rebounding workforce isn’t having the same effect for everyone.
"There's those who are struggling, there are lots of folks struggling. For those who are doing well and their lives have largely returned, that is not a universal experience in this economy," Blakeman explained.
One of those people is Monte Handschy. He says he’s was a mechanic all his life, but now at 62 years old, work is becoming harder.
Handschy explained, "I’m struggling to find time to find a job in this because of the pandemic going on. Employment is getting a little bit harder than it used to be."
Blakeman says for people like Handschy, there are jobs there, which is a good sign, but, it comes with a disclaimer.
"Anyone who wants a job can find a job, but whether it’s the exact job you want, there’s a lot of other things, but you can be employed. That news is tempered by the fact there are fewer people working or looking for work than there was a year ago,” Blakeman explained.
This could be due to retirees deciding to stop working earlier than planned or people who’ve lost their job deciding not to go back to the same job and wait to find something better, but part of this shrinking workforce is because of the situation surrounding schools.
"Schools have been going on and off, in terms of online learning, all semester, I mean since August," Blakeman explained. "So, there may be parents who decided, based on what their own job situations were of sitting out from the workforce."
This means that the demand for food banks and other assistance programs might continue to grow while some other people get their jobs back, but people like Handschy might not get their top choice job as COVID-19’s second wave impacts the area.
"I guess kind of at this point, you know, beggars can’t be choosers, so I guess I would be open to other things," Handschy said.