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Despite large hiring fairs, potential workers still aren't biting

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Posted at 7:45 PM, Oct 13, 2021

CINCINNATI — On Wednesday, Kroger held a job fair hoping to fill 20,000 positions between the Cincinnati and Dayton areas in preparation for the holiday season.

Across the country, companies have struggled to hire people while Kroger tries to push for more hires as people plan to fill carts ahead of the holidays.

"We do know a lot of families will gather again safely and hold some larger celebrations," said Jennifer Moore, corporate affairs manager for the Cincinnati-Dayton division of Kroger.

Moore said she doesn't believe the COVID-19-induced "great resignation" will affect applications.

Northern Kentucky University economist Janet Harrah disagrees.

"I don't care what kind of job you have, it's going to be hard to fill," she said.

Harrah said the problem facing employers is two-fold: both an economic and health care issue.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department announced that 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August, the highest number since 2020.

"I think we're going to get this kind of economic ups and downs at least for another 18 to 24 months," said Harrah.

In Green Township, Ron's Roost Restaurant has felt the impact, too.

"Never had this tough of time getting applications," said Ron Larkin, owner of Ron's Roost Restaurant.

He's hiring for multiple positions, from servers to cooks, but said the workforce just isn't there.

"I'm not to the point yet where I see a lot of restaurants are closing down on a Monday or Tuesday. We're not there yet," said Larkin. "I don't have to do that. But I don't know what the next six or 12 months holds."

Other large companies besides Kroger are beginning holiday hiring, including DHL near the airport. Kroger is hoping new hires who join for the holiday season will stay around after the holidays as well. Though the hiring event is over, interested applicants can still apply online.