KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The national April jobs report, which was released Friday, painted a grim picture of an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic: 20.5 million jobs lost and an unemployment rate of 14.7%, the worst since the Great Depression.
"That is unbelievable,” said Clyde McQueen, president and CEO of the Full Employment Council in Kansas City. "This virus and this pandemic has not left any stone unturned.”
The council is busy helping people virtually through workshops and by finding jobs. McQueen said there are jobs available for people looking to find some work.
"Engineers are still in a huge demand because of more of a demand in what’s happening now," McQueen said. "Warehouse logistics, shipping, transportation is going to be huge because, guess what, people are now used to ordering from home."
One person currently looking for a job is Blue Springs resident Tim Perdieu. He was laid off in September 2019 and has been looking for a management job.
"Now, nobody is hiring managers at all,” Perdieu said.
His benefits ran out since he applied for unemployment last year and he’s still within his benefit year. Perdieu applied for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Kansas has yet to distribute that money because of what state officials have called an antiquated system.
In the meantime, Perdieu told 41 Action News that finding any work is difficult for him right now.
"Now I’m being told that I’m overqualified because I’ve owned my own business," Perdieu said. "I’ve had six interviews in the last three weeks and I’ve been told, 'well, I think you’re too qualified and I don’t know if you’ll be happy here.' I’m stuck in that I can’t get a job because I’m too qualified and I can’t get a job because no one is hiring this position."
When businesses start to reopen, McQueen believes the unemployment rate will start to drop.
"Without a strong workforce, you can’t have a strong economy, and I think this is the one thing that that's proven,” McQueen said.
For those in Missouri in need of help finding a job, here are a few resources:
The Full Employment Council:
- Training: feckc.org/training
- Employers hiring now: feckc.org/employers-hiring-now
- Career services: feckc.org/career-services
In Kansas, you can visit getkansasbenefits.gov.
Workforce Partnership helps those in Johnson, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties. Visit workforcepartnership.com for more information.