BRUNSWICK (NEWS CENTER Maine) — Help wanted signs are popping up all over the state. Due to a bustling economy and a record low unemployment rate in Maine, many businesses are hiring.
Some are facing a shortage.
Flaggers, who direct traffic through construction sites, are desperately needed in Maine.
For safety reasons, flaggers are needed whenever a construction company is working in the road. And right now there are too many jobs and not enough workers.
Project Flagging in Brunswick provides 70 percent of the flaggers in Maine and they simply don't have enough workers to fill all the jobs and neither do their competitors.
"There’s a lot of work out there and there doesn't seem to be enough people to fill all the jobs we have," said Project Flagging president Barbara Mahoney.
Rick Holden, Project Flagging's general manager, said it can be difficult to find reliable people on a day to day basis.
"For the most part, this year, we are not taking on any new projects," Holden said. "We have enough work, we're trying to keep our customers we're working for now, satisfied. We're turning down a lot of work."
Rob Carver, owner of Carver Excavating knows that all too well. He’s called a handful of flagging companies and he keeps coming up empty.
"They all give me the same answer," he said. "It was weeks, if not months to schedule them for one of our jobs."
Carver, who operated throughout the Greater Portland Area for 20 years said he’s never seen anything like it.
"I think it's supply and demand," he said. "There is so much going on, there is a lot of road construction, commercial projects."
In a robust economy people have more choices and flagging is a tough job.
Barbara Mahoney said "it's physically demanding too. You're on your feet, all day long, standing in hot weather or in the winter time not so nice weather."
Mahoney said they are hiring and training flaggers every week and always looking for more.
In the meantime, Rob Carver, and others in the same position, will have to wait or get creative when one of their jobs calls for flaggers.
Carver said "it's more legwork, more scheduling, more work to get all the pieces in place to execute these jobs, you're at their mercy."