The high turnout at the East Bay job fair may signal a shift in the job market in the era of the pandemic

San Pablo (KPIX) – The Contra Costa County and Human Services (EHSD) Career Fair didn’t go as expected Tuesday, but that turned out to be a good thing.

The organizers expected about 100 people to register for the job fair, but it ended up being around 500. Given the fact that over the past several months, many employers have had trouble filling jobs, this has really been an unexpected increase in people looking for jobs.

The organizers ended up opening the fair to more employers who needed to hire as a result.

“Honestly, I’m just as eager as you to know what’s going on,” said Passion Ovodo, EHSD Workforce Services Specialist. “We will be reviewing the data after this day to see who showed up, why showed up, does this mean the market is shifting – and are job seekers really ready to go back to work?”

Among the employers there are Tesla, Amazon, Southwest Airlines, USBS, Tessa, BART, Panda Express, Caltrans, and more.

Among the job seekers was Beni Israel of Stockton, who has been unemployed since February.

“It was really hard,” he said. “I’ve been out of here for about an hour looking for jobs.” “The economy is going crazy. Gas prices are ridiculous. Pretty much, I came all the way from Stockton to Contra Costa County just to solidify – I don’t want a job, I want a job.”

The influx of job seekers at the job fair on Tuesday contrasts with what the area has seen over the past six months, says Michael Bernick, employment attorney with Duane Morris and former director of the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

“Workers are back in the workforce here in California, but we’re still about 225,000 fewer workers than the pre-pandemic number,” he said. “There’s no doubt it’s promising. First, employers need workers who are still in a variety of sectors and occupations. From the workers’ perspective, that’s only good now. Get back to work as soon as possible.”

Bernick advises people who are unemployed or looking to go on strike to change professions when the iron is hot.

He said: “We have gone through a rare case that we have not seen much in the past forty years of the existence of job opportunities and the lack of workers.” “But there are a lot of indications that that will change.”

On Wednesday, United Airlines is holding a job fair at the Chase Center. They are looking to fill 800 vacancies, all in San Francisco.

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