The Jobless Recovery

September 26, 2010 at 1:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

I went to a job fair on Thursday in a local hotel ballroom. It was scheduled to begin at 10 am and so I arrived 20 minutes early. By then there was a group of a couple hundred people waiting at the locked doors. When the doors opened, I was swept in with the tide of job-seekers.

The fair consisted of 15 “exhibitors” of which 5 were colleges & training schools looking to recruit students. Most of the remaining exhibitors were for companies that do things like paste advertising billboards onto automobiles.

I had attended so as to apply at a local retailer that was seeking management candidates. When I entered the fair I made a beeline for their booth, where I was 2nd in line to receive a job description & application package. By the time I filled-out the paperwork 10 minutes later, I found that I was well over 100th in line to hand it in.
For this past week, a local grocery had a flier posted in its window saying cashier applications would be taken this morning. I arrived a half hour before time and was, therefore, 4th in line. Since I shop at the store regularly, the cashier on duty recognized me on my way out & I stopped to talk. She said she must have given-out 1000 applications during the week.



  1. missdisplaced said,

    Wow, over 1000 applications for grocery store cashier?
    I believe it, but find that so sad.

    • Edwin Girdle said,

      It is sad and frightening, particularly to be one of the jobless who is competing for the few jobs that are out there. Even if my source was exaggerating by quadrupling the actual number, that is still a lot of applicants. I can believe the number of applicants to be enormous judging by the length of the line behind me.

  2. long time unemployed said,

    Massive turnout for 70 jobs at Perrigo disheartening for some candidates

    HOLLAND, Michigan — Unemployed electrical mechanic Richard Reed stood in line for more than three hours Tuesday, hoping to snag one of 70 clerical and production line jobs advertised by pharmaceutical company Perrigo. The competition was fierce: More than 1,000 people turned out for the event.

    “It’s discouraging. There’s so many people here trying to get a couple dozen jobs,” said Reed, 41, a Belding resident who has been without a job for two years, despite applying for hundreds of positions.

    “My unemployment ran out five weeks ago and the savings are going real fast. I hope this time something will happen,” said Reed, noting he has given up trying to find a job that matches his skills and is open to any offer.

    The Perrigo job fair, run by Manpower of Allegan, drew the crush of applicants to Michigan Works offices at 121 Clover St. in Holland.

    The line to fill out applications and drop off resumes stretched over two floors of the building and out into the parking lot. Call-backs for interviews will come later.

    “We had easily 400 to 500 people lined up by 10 a.m. to apply for the positions. We knew there would be a lot of people, but we didn’t expect this huge turnout,” said Mike Stock, marketing specialist for Michigan Works.

    The Allegan-based manufacturer of over-the-counter, storebrand and generic drugs is seeking employees for its plants in Allegan and Holland. Most of the positions were in the $10 to $14 an hour range, with those hired starting as contract workers through the staffing agency Manpower.

    The jobs could lead to full-time positions with Perrigo after a probationary period.

    Perrigo in 2010 had a record year with sales of $2.27 billion and an increase of 60 percent in profits — up $224 million from 2009. Major sales increases came from people switching to lower-cost house brand and generic drugs because of the economic recession.

    The company has expanded operations with the acquisition of New Jersey-based, store-brand baby food maker PBM Holdings Inc. and Orion Laboratories in Australia. Perrigo’s NASDAQ stock price at noon Tuesday was $63.50, up from $31.23 a year ago.

    Former Nike regional sales manager Doreen Gilson of Martin, who lost her sales and customer service job with Richard’s Plumbing Heating & Industrial Supplies in Grand Rapids nearly a year ago, was open to any offers from the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

    “I’m not shooting to be an executive or a boss, I just want a job,” said Gilson, 53, who hoped her resume and job skills would get her an interview.

    “I’ve applied for lots and lots of jobs, but there are hundreds of people applying for every job out there,” she said.

    “I’m hoping the economy is turning around. Having a local company looking for workers is a good sign. I hope.”

    Manpower Regional Director Carla Hanson said callback interviews would be held starting next week and hiring for the positions would start within a month.

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