Signs of springtime for the American jobless

There is hope for the jobless, according to a survey released by CareerBuilder. (khalilshah/FLICKR)
There is hope for the jobless, according to a survey released by CareerBuilder. (khalilshah/FLICKR)

BY LESLIE PATTON – MEDILL NEWS SERVICE

The latest read on the number of new people signing up for unemployment benefits provides some evidence that the job market’s downward spiral may be slowing, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report Thursday.

The Unemployment Insurance Weekly Claims report for the week ended April 4 showed that seasonally adjusted initials claims fell to 654,000, a 3 percent decrease from 674,000 last week.

The four-week moving average for initial claims also dropped slightly from the week prior. Even so, continuing claims, or the number of jobless taking unemployment benefits for more than a week, soared 95,000 to 5.84 million, a fresh record high since 1967, when the U.S. started tracking the number.

Still, it’s springtime and there may be reason for hope that things are in the early stages of improving for the jobless.

Of all the full-time workers laid off in the past three months, 41 percent found new full-time employment and 8 percent found part-time work, according to a CareerBuilder survey of 807 laid-off workers.

More men than women who were laid off were able to find employment — 59 percent of men versus 49 percent of women, according to the survey.

Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America, identified five areas where there are job opportunities: healthcare, government, education, sales and technology.

“It’s important to devote five hours or more to your job search every day, check online listings, talk to recruiters, join social networking sites – use all the resources you have available to you,” Rasmussen said in a press release.

With the stimulus package about to take effect, jobs in sustainability and the environment are on the rise, said Allison Nawoj, career advisor at CareerBuilder.

On CareerBuilder’s Web site, there are 4,073 jobs listed within 10 miles of Chicago. Twenty-six percent of these jobs are classified as sales positions, another 26 percent are in management, 19 percent are in healthcare and 18 percent are in information technology. The remaining 11 percent of jobs are in various fields.

Resurrection Health Care, a private Catholic health care system in Chicago, currently lists 15 positions on the CareerBuilder Web site. Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center in West Town is hiring mostly registered nurses now, says Colleen McGreer, a human resources spokeswoman. The hospitals frequently do transfers and also re-hire people that left the system in good standing, McGreer said.

“Healthcare…it’s a wide range,” Nawoj said, noting that companies are hiring nurses, physician’s assistants, administrators and marketers.

The Tribune Company, which operates the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Chicago’s WGN-AM broadcast station and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, lists 51 Chicago-based jobs on CareerBuilder.com. Of these positions, 20 are in information technology.

Illinois, however, saw an increase in unemployment insurance claims from the week prior. In fact, it saw the third highest increase behind Kentucky and Michigan, according to the report.

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