Raymond Jorgensen joined other job hunters Tuesday who visited with representatives from 27 employers from across East Texas at the News-Journal’s Career Expo at the Longview Exhibit Center.

Jorgensen, who left his most recent job after getting “fed up with it,” says he’s at a point in his life where he may decide to go back to work full-time or just go into full retirement.

“I don’t really have to work, but I’m maybe looking for a new job — a new career,” he said. “I’ve got a ton of industrial and warehouse experience, but I’m looking for something new where I can give back.”

Jorgensen said that, in the past, he has worked for several of the businesses represented at Tuesday’s job fair so he wanted to go back and compare the current wages and working conditions.

“I’m shopping me,” he said. “I’m my manager — I’m the free agent, and they’re looking for people like me.”

Jorgensen believes employers are having trouble hiring because younger workers just have a different way of looking at employment.

“People are content to just get by,” he said. “And there’s too much free money, too many loopholes and incentive to receive money from the government.”

Shelby Hart, who said she’s employed as a human resources professional, was visiting with potential employers but said she also wasn’t in desperate need of a job.

“I’m in a unique spot because I’m not looking for an immediate move, but I am putting feelers out to make a move in four to five months.”

Danni Johnson, director of human resources with Tri-State Iron and Metal Co. of Texarkana, said like many other employers in the post-COVID job market, Tri-State has had trouble retaining employees.

“Post-COVID has ushered in a new workforce where it’s not as urgent for people to obtain and retain employment because there is a lot of other assistance available,” she said. “And people are using other opportunities to make income.”

Johnson said Tri-State, which owns Pickers Self-Service Auto Parts and Joe Boy’s Towing, is looking for career-minded, reliable and dedicated workers to fill positions as sales associates and vehicle purchasing agents as well as yard technicians.

“We’re trying to source up for some additional lines of business that we have coming up,” she said. “So we’re trying to get as many qualified candidates as we can.”

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