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August 29, 2000 12:00 AM

Help Wanted

Good help is hard to find. Right now, "any" help is hard to find. The July unemployment numbers are out and Sioux Falls set another record low. KELO-LAND's John Bachman has the numbers and what they mean to workers and their employers. The numbers are preliminary and could change, but judging by the number of Help Wanted signs stuck to store windows, the figures are right on. In Rapid City unemployment is at 1.6 percent. Only 1.2 percent of the eligible workers in Brookings are looking for jobs. Sioux Falls hit an all-time low with only 1.3 percent unemployment. Help wanted signs are posted in many stores at the Sioux Empire mall. They're almost as common as sale signs. Help is wanted throughout the mall. Pro Image is operating at half staff. Sara Zacharias signed on two months ago hoping to work a few nights a week after school, "I've been here everyday, I have a few days off here and there, but other than that I do work every day." Her manager is glad to have her. Casey Wallum would hire someone to relieve Zacharias, if he could find someone. No one is even applying for a job. "Especially this time of year, people just are not really looking for a job. They've go school on their mind," Wallum says. As Desperate as the Pro Image is for help, the situation could get worse during the holidays, when the shopping rush hits. Getting hit with extra hours isn't all bad for Zacharias. In the long run, she hopes low unemployment will move her farther up the company ladder, "They trust me more, 'cause I'm here more, I'm learning more and I'm going to work myself up faster." The Pro Image has 4 employees, they'd like to have 8. To make matters worse at Pro Image, one of the four employees they do have is a volunteer fire fighter who was called to fight the Black Hills fire.

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