MILTON — Santa Rosa County officials may be proving their commitment to economic growth with recent unemployment data from LandrumHR that director of staffing Jim Howe says is "amazing."

Howe presented data researched by the company to the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce during the annual chamber luncheon on Feb 8.

The unemployment rate has been at 2.9 percent for 3 months in a row, Howe said, which means approximately 2,233 currently unemployed among the 80,354 currently employed.

"This is the second lowest rate ever recorded," Howe said. "That is amazing."

The current rate is 22 percent lower than last year and, according to research trends, shows that unemployment rises in January then hits a new low by May. He believes this has a lot to do with seasonal employment.

Pushing this rate further down means hiring more.

Attracting and recruiting new employees

In today's market the recruiting experience has changed, Howe said. Before, employers searched for employees with the thought of, "what they can give me," he said.

"It has become a two way street," he said. "Now employers need to think, 'What can this person give me and what can I give them?' Employees need to think about the total compensation. That means wages benefits, incentives, and perks. What is going to attract this person to take this job?" 

Howe said candidates are evaluating the market more when selecting a position, meaning candidates will do research on the company before coming in to speak with them. 

According to Howe, 73 percent of people who are seeking jobs are active in the workforce and are passive job seekers. 

"This means they are not aggressively looking for jobs," he said. "They are perfectly content in their current job and are mostly just browsing. So unless they find a job really attractive to them, they browse right by."

Howe said if employers want to attract prospective employees, the first thing they need to do is make sure they get the word out, by putting job postings out on multiple job-seeking websites. He said businesses could also use staffing agencies like Landrum to assist in the recruiting and screening process and attend job fairs and networking. Howe said the most important thing to remember is the business's brand.

"Be involved in the community," Howe said. "Be a part of what is going on so people see that you are someone that cares."