NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – Despite layoffs at Neenah Foundry, local experts say the job market in the Fox Valley is still doing well.

Neenah Foundry informed the state of Wisconsin that they would have to lay off up to 115 employees starting at the end of September. The company said they are selling off some of their manufacturing and heavy truck part sales.

While Neenah Foundry is laying people off, officials with Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton said they are looking to fill over 100 positions at their company.

“Anywhere from maintenance to pump mechanics to assemblers, electricians, welders a whole variety of open positions in the skilled trades,” said their senior human resources manager Gina Kraus.

Kraus said the company has expanded even during the pandemic which is why they have so many open jobs to fill right now. She said the biggest challenge with the job market right now is finding enough workers.

“It’s a difficult market right now,” said Kraus. “There’s a lot of jobs open and we’re seeing a different trend than we saw in the past where we’d see lots of applicants come in now we don’t have as many applicants coming in so it’s what can we do to make them work here.”

Kraus said with all the competition for workers, companies work hard to differentiate themselves from others. Here is a link to Pierce Manufacturing’s careers page.

Over at the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board in Neenah, officials there confirm the trend that Pierce Manufacturing is experiencing.

“For about 50 years we didn’t have as many babies as we needed to have to replace our workforce, retirements through the pandemic, we saw some people sit out of the labor market during the pandemic, said Bobbi Miller who is the organization’s business services manager.

She said the unemployment rate in the Fox Valley is 3% right now. Breaking that down further, Calumet County is 2.9%, Winnebago County is 3.2%, and Outagamie County is 3.1%.

The latest numbers indicate that the national average unemployment rate is 3.6% and the state average is 2.9%.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2022’s 3.6% national unemployment rate is the second lowest monthly rate in the US since 2012. In the early months of the pandemic, the national unemployment rate was over 14%.

All of thee numbers are from June.

For those looking for jobs though, there are lots of options right now.

“You can go through any industrial park and you see tons of hiring signs,” said Miller.

Miller said she feels for the people that Neenah Foundry laid off, but is hopeful that they will be able to find work elsewhere. She said her organization is a resource for anybody who needs help finding work.