Employment experts: A jobless status hurts chances of landing a job

Not having a job is tough enough. But employment recruiters are saying being jobless makes finding another one even tougher.

This month, fewer jobs were added nationally than in February, March and April, which each had 215,000 jobs added, according to an Associated Press article. The economy also only grew 1.9 percent during the January to March quarter.

The stagnant job market is hitting those who have been unemployed the longest the hardest.

“I have several customers (employers) who have told me they don’t want to look at anyone that has been out for over two years,” said Sue Hartmann, regional director of the TLC Staffing of Southwest Florida in Cape Coral, a division of The Lawton Group. “They are looking for someone has stayed up on their skills.”

The prospects of landing a job locally are even tougher.

While Florida’s unemployment rate remained steady from May to June at 10.6 percent, Collier County’s unemployment rose 1.4 percentage points to 11.3 percent and Lee County’s rose 0.7 to 11.6 percent since May.

That’s 15,662 unemployed people in Collier County and 31,329 in Lee County. On the bright side both of these counties have lower unemployment rates than in June 2010.

Yet, the unemployed must overcome the unwanted status symbol.

Many employers openly state in their ads, “must be currently employed,” according to a report by the National Employment Law Project, a national employment rights advocacy organization.

Employers are more likely to consider someone who has stayed active; volunteering, networking and continuing education are ways to keep skill sets up, Hartmann said.

Finding a job when unemployed is challenging but not impossible. A local staffing agency has someone starting a job on Monday who has been unemployed since February 2010.

Daniel Brown account executive of BanyonBrown Solutions Inc., a staffing agency based in Naples, doesn’t think employers are discriminating against people who have gaps in their employment history any more than they used to.

“The issue has probably been mitigated a little bit by the overall employment climate,” he said.

Especially in Southwest Florida employers recognize that there are large numbers of qualified people who are unemployed, he said.

“We have seen people get hired that have been unemployed for six months to a year,” he said.

Last week, Banyon Staffing put someone in a job who had been unemployed since August 2010 over another candidate who was employed, he said.

If a person is concerned about being discriminated against due to being unemployed, Brown said they should address the issue in advance, for example in their resume.

Economists said temporary factors, such as high gas prices and supply-chain disruptions from the Japan crisis were part of the reason employers didn’t add many jobs, according to an Associated Press article. Nationally only 18,000 net jobs were added in June, according to the U.S. Department of Labor and the Associated Press article.

The long-term evaluation also looks bleak.

The Associated Press reported that unemployment has topped 8 percent for 29 months, the longest streak since the 1930.

Economic growth is predicted to be at a 3.2 percent pace in the last six months of the year. A growth of 3 percent would hold unemployment steady, a year of growth at 5 percent is needed to significantly decrease the unemployment rate.

For students who are just hitting the job market Reid Lennertz, director of career development services at Florida Gulf Coast University recommends they get any job over being unemployed. Students can volunteer, intern or take a job outside of their desired field to stay marketable.

“Let’s not let too much time get away before a negative impression could be created,” Lennertz said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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