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KANSAS CITY, Mo, — At first glance, the latest Missouri jobs report offers encouraging totals.

The state’s unemployment rate hit its lowest mark ever, dropping to an all-time low at 2.5% for the month of July, but those totals have skeptics in the business world talking.

Merchants who talked with FOX4 on Friday said those totals don’t tell the entire story, since many qualified job applicants aren’t seeking jobs.

Staffing experts believe employers aren’t seeing the quality applicants they seek. Amy Tevis, who manages Kansas City-based Syndeo Staffing, said her customers aren’t pleased with the job candidates that are available, and in her experience, as much as 10% of interviewees aren’t showing up for their in-person job interviews.

“If you look at the overall picture, we don’t want to get discouraged because there are people out there and they are responding, but we’ve certainly tried to keep up with the times as far as the shift we continually see,” Tevis said on Friday.

Count Tevis among those who believe remote jobs may be causing these numbers to skew, since some people are working form home and those numbers may not show up in statewide totals.

Small business operators aren’t sure either. Store owners in Kansas City’s affluent Brookside neighborhood have their ‘Help Wanted’ signs out, but the applicants they need aren’t coming around. The story is the same with schools, restaurants and retail.

“That niche is still struggling because we can’t say — sure, do that job at home. Free gift wrap gets done while you wait. It’s just a different situation,” Casey Simmons, co-owner at A Store Called Stuff, said.

“I want to see people excited to come into an amazing, colorful, fun place to work instead of giving me the eye that what I’m offering isn’t enough. That’s a pressure. I can only do what I can do,” Holly Pollard, who owns Brookside Toys and Science, said.

For those who are looking for work, we asked for inside information to help in the search.

Amy Tevis said there are plenty of jobs available in the skilled labor and heavy industry fields as well as hospitality work. Tevis said applicants ask about remote work fairly often, too, which has become a popular trend since the onset of the pandemic.

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