Help Wanted On The Big Island

Victor Trevino
Victor Trevino
Norm Stahl
Norm Stahl
Jonathan Kane
Jonathan Kane

(KHNL) - For the past couple of years, Hawaii's economy has shown strong numbers.

Statewide, unemployment numbers are lower than the national average.

And some companies, especially those on the Big Island, are having a difficult time finding help.

"Right now we have approximately 25 openings," said Victor Trevino.

The labor market is so tight, employers like Trevino are scrambling to fill positions. He's with De Luz Enterprises, which includes 11 Big Island companies.

"We're in cars, cows and real estate so functionally it's every position that we can think of from mechanics to upper management," said Trevino.

But that's not all. Experts say there are a variety of jobs here in Hilo, including positions with the state and local shops and restaurants.

Overall, the Big Island unemployment rate stands at just under 3%. Tourism is up and companies are trying to keep up with the booming economy.

Norm Stahl is with the University of Hawaii at Hilo's career services department. He agrees, companies are having a difficult time finding quality workers.

"I've had to turn away some employers wanting to sign up for the Fall job fair just because of limited space," said Stahl.

A trend, he believes, will continue.

"Most employers will be increasing the amount of hiring they have to do on college and university campuses," said Stahl.

And that means good news for the unemployed.

"And there's like, choke, 3 pages of job listings," said Jonathan Kane, job seeker.

But for employers looking to hire, it means changing with the times. Trevino's company is making its human resources department more proactive and trying to lure new employees with attractive offers.

"We are coming up with more creative pay plans and usually that does involve relocation expenses, things along those lines," said Trevino.

His company is also trying to show its workers how much they're appreciated through company parties and family assistance programs. Trevino knows that finding good employees can be tough, but keeping them is even tougher.