During the past five years, most job growth in the area has been in the service industry, trade, and local government, said Fred Walsh, regional labor economist with the Employment Security Department.
By contrast, real estate and construction jobs have cooled off, because fewer people are moving to the area, he said.
This summer, the job placement office of the Employment Security Department is buzzing, as between 90 and 120 people look for work each day.
What they want are jobs with security.
“People are looking for more permanent and stable types of employment opportunities,” said Dan Lambert, job placement supervisor. “They want something they can base their planning and thoughts for the future on and certainly something that offers some sort of benefit package.”
Many of the candidates already have jobs, but they’re looking to step up.
Unfortunately businesses here and across the country are offering more part-time jobs and fewer full-time positions.
“It’s an epidemic and it’s a travesty to families,” said Ross Rieder, a labor organizer for the Snohomish County Labor Council. “For a society that claims to be so family oriented to think that people can survive with part-time jobs is a hypocrisy.”
But some businesses have to go to part-time labor to stay competitive, said Lambert.
The full-time job offers that come to the Employment Security Department are often in specialized industries that require special training.
“Employers are looking for machinists, heating/air conditioning/ ventilation people,” Lambert said. “And we see pretty much continuous interest in good journey-level carpenters and electricians.”
Finally, Lambert said he sees a demand for more “system help people” such as computer programmers, system analysts and people with telephone and computer skills.
“Even though the unemployment rate is very low, we’re finding a lot of folks who are still looking for work,” he said. “The difference is they’re certainly being selective about what they’re looking for.”
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