Make no mistake: Looking for a job these days is a challenge.
“The last time I was looking for a job, it wasn’t this difficult,” said Brian Walker, 42, of Dayton, while at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Spring Job Fair Wednesday at the Ervin J. Nutter Center.
Hundreds of people joined Walker at the five-hour event. The fair featured more than 80 employers, public and private, looking for qualified applicants.
Walker was able to get work immediately after graduating 12 years ago, finding employment with a Montgomery County agency working with adults who have disabilities. He recently lost the job, he said.
Walker finds this job hunt to be very different from the last one he experienced. “This is absolutely my first job fair,” he said with a laugh.
According to recent U.S. Labor Department data, the number of job openings rose 8.7 percent from January to February, but companies slowed their hiring pace, to a seasonally adjusted 4.4 million people, just 2.8 percent more than January. There were 3.1 jobless people, on average, for each opening in February, the government said.
“It’s difficult,” said Jeff Flanary, 51, of Riverside. “There are a lot of applicants, a lot of good applicants, out there for every job, as I understand it.”
It can be especially challenging for those over 50, added Flanary, who recently has been working on a contract basis as an accountant. “I think they (possible employers) are afraid of the health costs, frankly, and the dependents.” Some employers may look for “people willing to move up the corporate ladder. I’m kind of beyond that at this stage of my career.”
Tessa Dalcourt, 31, of Washington Twp., walked away from the fair with what she hoped was a lead. One employer told Dalcourt she would be contacted within 24 hours, she said.
Dalcourt is a part-time employee looking for a full-time position in customer service or retail.
“It’s hard trying to find something full-time,” she said. “They’re either not hiring or I don’t have the skill set they’re looking for.”
Jennifer Melton, who works in personnel for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, has about 40 job openings even under sequestration. She was looking for qualified people in finance, contracting, engineering and other areas.
“We’re hoping if sequestration gets resolved, we’ll be able to hire additional folks later,” Melton said.
Resumes will be kept on file for a year, Melton said. Interested applicants may visit www.AirForceLcmc.com.