Job fairs have prospective employees hopeful

Posted at: 07/10/2013 6:31 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque has dropped into the lowest depths of yet another list where you never want to see your city ranked. The metro area is 96th out of 100 cities in the overall economic index of the Brookings Institution Metro Monitor for the first quarter of the year. In the employment category, Albuquerque is 100th – dead last.

Albuquerque is actually seeing some job growth in recent months, but it’s slower than most other cities and that first quarter was deadly. Albuquerque was the only metro region in the Mountain West to lose jobs in the first three months of the year.

That’s no surprise to the hundreds of job-seekers who packed two major job fairs in the city on Wednesday.

“Actually it’s opening up a little more as time goes on,” said IT specialist Steven Stone, looking for leads at a Workforce Solutions health care job fair in Martineztown. “I’ve been unemployed for about four years, but part of that was a sabbatical. I took a sabbatical, went travelling.”

“I’ve been looking for two years,” said Nellie Duarte while waiting to talk with potential employers at a South Valley job fair at Harrison Middle School. “I graduated from Brookline College. I have not found a job. There’s just this caregiving position I’ve got, which is not really what I want to do.”

Albuquerque’s metro jobless rate is almost four percent higher than it was before the recession started here in 2008. The rate of people employed in that period is down well over seven percent – a sign of a shrinking workforce and jobs that have disappeared in the recession.

San Jose, California is number one in the Brookings Metro Monitor overall economic rankings, followed by New Orleans and Phoenix. Joining Albuquerque at the bottom of the barrel are Syracuse, New York at number 97, followed by  Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Scranton, Pennsylvania at number 100 in the overall rankings.