Local Labor Market Shows Steady Growth

Market Still Too Tight for Longtime Jobless, Though

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The number of lost jobs could decline, a UConn study says.

    Despite an uptick in the national unemployment rate, even as more jobs were created in June, San Diego's County's labor market is expected to keep showing improvement.
     
    While local numbers for June aren't out until next week, the county's unemployment rate was 9.6 percent -- down 2/10ths of a point from April -- in May, when 7,500 jobs were added.

      The size of the region's workforce has been on an upward trend, providing some optimism for many whose last paychecks came too long ago. But finding a job, even a part-time gig, is a full-time job in and of itself for unemployed clients who logged onto computers Friday at the San Diego Workforce Partnership's Metro Career Centers in City Heights. All too often, there's little to show for those efforts.
     
    "I'm a professional with two degrees, and I've probably had 115 resumes or applications out since October, and 13 interviews," says Richard Trepsas, who's looking for work as a "social entrepreneur"/marketing executive. "It's just really tough."
     
    The job market is especially competitive right now, With 150,000 people on the county's unemployment rolls and countless thousands more who have lost benefits, gone to part-time freelance work or given up active job searches.
     
    Still, labor market analysts say rays of hope are shining brighter on the horizon. Fpr example, employment in the construction industry is rising, in terms of hiring for non-residential projects. High-tech, biofuels and health-care information technology are other fields offering more work.
     
    "We've seen steady growth; it's just not as fast as people would like," said Chuck Flacks, Workforce Partnerships's research director. "It's not as fast as, maybe, analysts expect, but it's been steady growth."
     
    Catching on to that upward curve not only requires optimum credentials and experience but a mindset that embraces learning new tricks and skill sets.
     
    "I do not have very much education on the computer; however, I'm motivated and determined," said Shetima Matthews as she scanned online job listings at the Metro Career Center. "I'm good with housekeeping, so I'm hoping a motel would hire me. Even a little 7-11. Anything that would hire me would be fine right now."
     
    As they pound the pavement or pound the career center's keyboards looking for work, many job seekers face issues of age discrimination or being overqualified, as opposed to underqualified. They have to fight to find the strength to keep at it.
     
    "Right now we've got family to take care of -- that's why I'm out here pushing, pushing, pushing," said Darren Harvey, a veteran of the retail industry who's taken a part-time "on-call" job while seeking a full-time position.
     
    "I've got a daughter who's 12 years old," added Harvey. "What's that going to look like when I get older and say 'How am I going to take care of her?' Our world, the job market that's out there, is not fair to the working man."