by Adam Ghassemi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Even though job numbers are getting better overall there are still lots of people looking for work. The owners of one mid-state company said they have good jobs available, and no one willing to take them.
Workers didn't waste any time during Monday's sunny, clear conditions while smoothing out and stamping concrete for a one home's new outdoor space.
"When this is done it's a beautiful finish," said Bellis Concrete Construction owner Fred Bellis.
Bellis knows the real job is finding people who are willing to do it.
"It's hard enough to get the work, and then once you get the work you can't find people to come do the work," he said.
The Cookeville company has been around since the late 90s, but now is finding it harder than ever to find qualified people or even those willing to learn how to work with concrete while continuing to show up each day.
"It's to the point now it's a never ending battle, it's an everyday battle," he said.
Right now Bellis employs nearly 20 workers, but said they could easily add six to 10 more.
"We are actually turning down work," his wife Cindy told us Monday. She has tried everything from job sites, career centers, job fairs and newspapers, but still can't find qualified applicants.
"There are lots of jobs out there," she said. "We're at a loss."
Bellis' positions are stable and pay up to $22-per-hour depending on experience, but still no one seems to want them. They are willing to consider people with and without concrete experience.
"I think it's people don't want to do manual labor. We have to get up in the morning and go to work," Fred Bellis said.
The latest job statistics for February 2014 show the national unemployment rate is 6.7 percent. Tennessee's rate stands slightly higher at 6.9 percent.
The Bellis family is now trying to figure out how unemployment can so high, and they still can't find people willing to work.
"We'll do anything. We'll bend over backwards to find employees," Cindy Bellis said. "We'll look at anybody that comes through the door."
Fred Bellis said this has been a problem for a very long time, but it seems to be getting worse since some people only want to work a short time and then draw unemployment.