Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, February 27 2012 at 3:43 PM, Updated: Mon, February 27 2012 at 3:58 PM
A recent survey shows that there are six unemployed workers for every job opening in Oregon.
Richard Belton is one of over 176 thousand Oregonians looking for work...but there are only about 30 thousand openings.
"I don't know, it's just pretty hard in Klamath - there's just not a lot of jobs to look for."
Klamath County's jobless rate now stands at 11.9 percent. Randy Norris of Worksource Klamath notes that many are out of work for the first time.
"There are a lot of highly qualified people. Some of them, for the first time coming to our offices - and that's a little shock for them.
Norris notes that there are some jobs available.
"We have about 206 listings, and about 151 of them are new this month."
But not everyone qualifies. About three-quarters of the jobs require previous experience, and about a third require some kind of certification, or license. Nearly a fifth of the job vacancies are in health care, or social services.
But Richard Belton says he's open for anything...
"Part time, full time, anything available - I'll take anything I can get right now. Just trying to get a little bit of money."
The six-to-one worker to job ratio is actually an improvement over last year, when the ratio was six and a half to one.
Oregon's unemployment rate currently stands at 8.9 percent. New figures will be released on Tuesday.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.