Three months ago, the Greater Gainesville Chamber of Commerce recorded 5,700 job openings as businesses came back amid a receding COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, that number had nearly doubled.
Now, as the pandemic surges again, available Alachua County jobs are surging to still more unprecedented levels: On Wednesday the Greater Gainesville Chamber reported 12,085 openings across the county.
“It's a record high for our community,” Chamber President Eric Godet Sr. said in a phone interview. “When you talk to many of our businesses and retailers, they're having an incredible year. Their major concern is talent to continue with the growth.”
Alachua County’s labor market reflects larger trends in the state and the rest of the country as companies search for more employees. Last month Florida joined about two dozen states in ending extra federal benefits for the unemployed in an effort to push more people to return to work.
Godet said that move has made a difference on the ground in Gainesville.
“Since the governor ended the federal unemployment benefits in June, we've seen a marked increase in people coming in and people getting hired,” he said. “Before, [businesses] were having all these no-shows, but now they are having interviews and choosing employees.”
Godet said the increasing number of job openings is not because of stagnation, but because as posted jobs are filled even more are becoming available.
“We're hearing a lot of great news from our members,” Godet said. “A company just told me they're about to post 100 new jobs.”
Godet cited upcoming opening of Spurrier’s Gridiron Grille as a good example. He said the restaurant has attracted experienced workers, and as a result, jobs have opened up at other area eateries.
To help meet the demand the Chamber has posted openings to its website and also hosted job fairs, including two scheduled for the hospitality industry, which has struggled to come back from its pandemic swoon.
“We're willing to be as creative as we have to be,” Godet said.
The bulk of the jobs—more than 90 percent—are in Gainesville, but some are spread around the area. Here’s a city-by-city breakdown:
- Gainesville: 11,023
- Alachua: 660
- Newberry: 200
- High Springs: 95
- Hawthorne: 48
- Archer: 18
- Micanopy: 14
- Waldo: 14