Tumbling Economy Shrinking SD Workforce

Jobs continue to be scarce in San Diego

By Gene Cubbison
|  Thursday, Aug 4, 2011  |  Updated 10:22 PM PDT
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San Diego Experiences Job Decline

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San Diegans looking for jobs might be met with resistance in the coming months.

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San Diego Experiences Job Decline

San Diego's job market is declining as the county experiences a 10 percent unemployment rate. Gene Cubbison reports.

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Local job market analysts and out-of-work residents seeking employment say the fallout from the latest economic meltdown will be felt in San Diego for quite awhile.
 
For the first time in seven months, the San Diego County's unemployment rate is above 10 percent.

  And the 'workforce index' dropped for the first time in five months.
 
"Particularly troubling today," Chuck Flacks, research director of the San Diego Workforce Partnership, said. "I've heard from national economists that we're looking at a 50 percent chance of another recession – or what we call a 'double dip' recession.” 
 
"The concern is there may be more layoffs in San Diego to come as a result of that.
 
It's definitely an employers' market, and generally has been for three years. But the trend looks like it will continue
 
Now, it figures to get even more so.
 
Another sign is that anxious, frustrated job-seekers usually aren't extended the courtesies they were in better times.
 
"I would only ask employers that if they do get a resume, and thousands of them," said Bay Park resident Nola Glen, as she scouted office-staff openings on the Web Thursday morning, "let the person know 'Thanks' or 'No thanks'."
 
Other job seekers who joined Glen in looking for jobs at the San Diego Workforce Partnership's careeer center in City Heights say the effort is full-time work in and of itself.
 
"You can't say, 'Well, I'm going to look for a job today," Kearny Mesa resident Harvey Herring said.  "It's got to be like you're working 9-to-5.  That's how you've got to go for your job search."
 
Herring advises others to follow his example, and be ready to accept temporary work -- because it could lead to permanent positions: "They see you come and be punctual and do good work, they're going to pick you up.  And you have a better chance of getting hired."
 
But for all too many of the unemployed and under-employed, there's the pain of rejection for various reasons that include apparent age discrimination, or requirements such as providing their own transportation or equipment.
 
"It's very frustrating position to be in when you have a family to provide for," Samuel Gomez, who has extensive retail and phone marketing experience said. "It can be, at times, depressing.  But you owe it to yourself to continue to go forward."
 
A military background is often helpful, and hundreds of ex-service members turned out for a Thursday career expo held by dozens of companies at Liberty Stations.
 
The firms' recruiters said employers like disciplined, mission-driven people accustomed to promotional ladders.
 
But in this hyper-competitive job market, armed forces experience doesn't guarantee getting hired.
 
And a surprising high percentage of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan combat deployments are finding themselves jobless and/or homeless.
 
"It's a shame to see so many people with such a great skills set, great background, come back and not have any opportunities for them," said Kara Hepp, an Air Force veteran who drove to the expo from her home in Las Vegas.  "Hopefully, events like this will help get their names out there, their resumes out there, and get a job."
 
Navy veteran Leonard Arotin, out of work for three months, has found jobs at previous ex-military recruiting fairs.
 
"In just in the past week alone, I've applied for about 50 different positions," Arotin said.  "A lot of other people are applying for those positions as well.  And we're all qualified, and they can only hire one.  It's absolutely competitive."
 
Meantime, the biggest local job-loss sectors over the past year were in the construction trades -- 2,700 positions. And, given political imperatives of 'shrinking the size government', 2,200 public-sector employees came off the payrolls.

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