SHERIDAN — Sheridan is coming into its golden time for job seekers. After months of sluggish hiring, the local job market is starting to wake up in preparation for summer and peak employment season.
Employers with seasonally focused businesses, which include construction, hospitality and retail among others, are on the hunt for their dream teams. The shared time frame to ramp up operations has resulted in a spike of open job announcements filed with the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
DWS Workforce Specialist Melana Cummings said the last few weeks have been markedly busier than the past few months.
“Everything opens up in the spring and summertime,” Cummings said, indicating she had received dozens of job orders in the first seven days of this month.
The DWS website, wyomingatwork.com, lists 150 job openings for the previous two weeks. The three weeks prior to that, the combined total was 86.
The numbers show an abrupt upswing in the local hiring trend. Cummings said she’s not surprised.
“I expect to be adding five to 10 new jobs every day by June or July,” she said, adding that this time of the year is when the odds are in favor of job seekers looking to get hired or change jobs.
“Even now, it seems like we have more jobs than people, which is good if you’re looking, but maybe not so good for employers,” Cummings said, adding that DWS exists to help both employers and job seekers find each other.
The sudden hiring spike phenomena is not entirely explained only by the swing of tourist season. Another reason why job openings are rushing down like water from the mountains is job seekers are more likely to be looking for a new start when circumstances are optimal.
“When people are going to relocate, they’re going to do it when the weather is nice and their kids are out of school,” Cummings said.
Listings on the DWS website shows jobs in the sector of health care and education dominate open fields in terms of percentatges.
Because Sheridan is home not only to Sheridan Memorial Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, but a plethora of businesses that provide related services — nursing homes, disability assistance programs and Volunteers of America of the Northern Rockies — nurses, certified nursing assistants and other medical technicians are regularly in demand. However, the seasonal spike is still evident via increased job advertising.
The educational “season” doesn’t follow the same spike as those of tourism, but when it comes to finding candidates, the search season lines up with the others.
Director of Elementary Education for Sheridan County School District 2 Scott Stultz he needs to start recruitment efforts early to be competitive.
“We used to advertise for positions that were going to start in the fall later in the spring, but then when we called back people we were interested in, we got the answer they had already accepted a position somewhere else,” Stultz said, explaining why the district is already actively recruiting teachers for the next school year.
Stultz said this year, the district has a relatively low number of positions open because fewer staff members have retired or moved on to other jobs.
While the requirement for higher levels of education and certification generally brings down the number of people who apply for a given job, Stultz said Sheridan’s location and district are a desirable destination for employees. Because of this, he expects to receive as many as 300 applications for 12 job openings.
This spring surge of job postings also shows a continued trend that employers are looking for workers with specific skill sets and field-related experience.
While the DWS and Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce websites are two of the most publicly accessible and visible aggregation of information for job seekers, many more are also actively recruiting via word-of-mouth and private advertising.