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Help wanted: 653 positions open in Stutsman County

“Help wanted” signs are common around Jamestown this summer.

There are 496 jobs and 653 positions open in Stutsman County, according to Danica Chaput, customer service consultant in Jamestown for Job Service North Dakota.

Some employers are seeking multiple people to fill the same job which results in a higher number of positions than jobs, Chaput said.

The number of positions available in Jamestown peaked in May at 718. There are currently 194 active job seekers in Stutsman County. The Stutsman County labor force has increased from 11,053 in May 2013  to 11,250 in May 2014.

With more than three jobs available for every job seeker, many new employees will have to come from outside Stutsman County.

“Workers will come if they get their needs met,” said Holly Miller, marketing and workforce developer for the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

 She said wages, benefits and workplace culture are all critical to recruiting and retaining employees.

“If people are happy at the job and can pay the bills retention is easy,” she said. “Pay is pretty important as far as recruiting people. We hear from people who love Jamestown, but say they have to be able to pay the mortgage to move here.”

Wages in Jamestown have increased in the past 10 years but at a slower rate than statewide wages in North Dakota.

In 2003, the average weekly wage in Stutsman County was $490 per week compared to $531 for all of North Dakota. In 2013, the most recent statistics available, average wages in Stutsman County had risen to $718 per week while the North Dakota average climbed to $919 per week.

On an hourly basis, the 2013 Stutsman County average wage amounted to $17.95 per hour compared to $22.98 per hour on a statewide basis.

Stutsman County ranks 30th among the 53 counties in North Dakota in wages at $37,314. The statewide average income is $47,779.

Miller said most of the people showing an interest in moving to Jamestown are from the Midwest states.

“We have excellent outdoor activities,” she said. “Similar to the other Midwest states. These are the people that are familiar with the weather and life in a place like Jamestown. They make the best fit.”

Ricki Ramlo, vice president of operations and human resources manager for Jamestown Regional Medical Center, said most people they recruit are familiar with the area.

“Many times they are from outside the area,” she said. “But many times those people have ties to the area.”

She said some recruits were raised here or have family in the area but may have gotten their education elsewhere.

Ramlo said the techniques used to recruit workers varied with the position.

“The more technical jobs,” she said. “Jobs where there are specific licenses required, can take additional time to recruit.”

Other jobs are filled locally.

“Equally important are the service and clerical positions and those tend to be recruited locally,” Ramlo said. “On an ongoing basis we look at the compensation to make sure we’re exceeding expectations in compensation and benefits. We want to make sure we’re the employer of choice.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at