A new report from the Employment Security Department seems to be good news for job seekers. The report shows that Washington is continuing its slow climb out of the recession. The Department of Employment Security announced July 18 that the state has now regained more than half the jobs that were lost since the economy bottomed out in February 2010. The report shows more than 10,000 jobs were added in the state from May 31 to June 30, 2012.
Despite the strong showing in available jobs, the unemployment rate remains unchanged. Sheryl Hutchinson, communications director for the Employment Security Department, explained this by saying, “One big reason is that there are more people joining the labor force; 50,000 people have joined the labor force since June.”
Hutchinson said some of the new job seekers are workers who were laid off during the recession. She thinks they may feel re-energized to enter the job market now that things seem to be looking up. She also acknowledged the large number of people who are newly entering the labor force, mainly college and high school graduates.
Sabienne Mouton is a career and employment specialist at Bellevue College’s Center for Career Connections. She has noticed since the economy started improving that more people who already have jobs are coming in to find a job they like better or find more meaningful. Her advice for people looking for work is to know yourself and what you want. “Be clear — about who you are and how you can contribute to an organization,” she advises.
That advice may be helpful to recent graduates like Jeff Johnson, 31, who graduated from the University of Washington six months ago. He went back to school in his late 20s after being laid off from his job as a project manager for a construction company. Despite sending out his resume frequently, he hasn’t found a job yet.
“It’s frustrating to put a lot of effort into a resume and cover letter and [you] never hear a peep from anybody,” he said.
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in social science and communication. He had good grades and picked up Spanish while studying abroad in Peru. Those credentials have yet to get him very far with employers, however.
“If I could do one thing different,” he said, “I would intern for a company I could see myself working for after graduation.”
Gaining an internship or temporary position at a company creates an opportunity for networking with industry leaders. Hutchinson said networking is one of the best ways to find a job. She also noted that about one-fifth of the new jobs described in the Employment Security report are for temporary positions. That’s encouraging, because it shows that more companies are gearing up for growth, she said. The companies can hire temp workers while they are in transition to bigger and better things.
Organizations like Work Source offer one-on-one training, workshops and hiring events around King County. Employment specialists like Mouton say the key to finding a job is, “networking, networking, networking.”
For more information on Work Source, see worksourceskc.org