Workforce center swamped with jobseekers — but not jobs

A No Job sign was posted at the job site at Mesa State College

The resource center at the Mesa County Workforce Center was busy early Wednesday. Nearly every computer station was in use and a steady stream of job searchers stopped by the front desk to sign in.

Workforce Center Supervisor Gilbert Lujan said crowds have become typical, and its not unusual for patrons to wait two-deep behind computers. In February, the resource center tallied 2,563 visitors. By comparison, September drew 1,354 visitors in what Lujan called the last normal month in Mesa County before the economic downturn.

A year ago the database would have 300 or 400 jobs posted for Mesa County, Lujan said. That number had dwindled to 110 Tuesday.

“It’s an employers’ market right now,” Lujan said.

Employers have told Lujan that a year ago they might receive five applications for a job opening. It’s not unusual for the employers to get 200 applications for those same jobs today. 

“We’ve done a 180, a ton of people looking for work and there is no available openings,” Lujan said.

Nathan Chynoweth, a Grand Junction native, was at a work station Wednesday morning fine-tuning his resume.

Chynoweth said he worked in the oil industry for the last 10 years, “bouncing from job to job, trying to find the best job.”

He was recently laid off along with about 20 co-workers from CalFrac. He had worked there for eight months.

The economic troubles remind him of the local oil downturn in the 1980s, but he said this is worse because its effects are nationwide in a variety of industries.

He has experience with heavy machinery, a commercial driver’s license and a variety of experience in the oil industry.

“Right now I’d take pretty much anything,” Chynoweth said, adding he hopes to find work in Grand Junction. “I’ve got different skills other than the oil field skills, and I’m willing to learn.”


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