New Hope for Job Seekers?

Laid off workers hope for better job market in next few months

By Greg Cergol
|  Friday, Jan 22, 2010  |  Updated 6:01 PM EDT
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New Hope for Job Seekers?

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Opportunity may soon come knocking.

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Laid off sales administrator Joanne Cambria was back in a familiar spot, sitting before a computer screen at Suffolk County's one stop employment center in Hauppauge, scrolling through available jobs.

Cambria has been out of work for a year.

"I never thought I would be out this long," says Cambria.  "But it hasn't been easy because every month, more and more people lose jobs. There's 500 applicants for every job that opens."

Nearby, U.S. Census officials were offering tests for temporary jobs and, according to one woman, laid off Wall Street executives were among the test takers. 

"We have truly seen a very, very sharp decline in jobs on Long Island since late 2008," said New York labor market analyst Gary Huth.

Still, Huth expressed optimism about when the job market would turn around.

"I see improvement coming in spring," he predicted.  "Job counselors tell me they have seen evidence more companies will be hiring and I am hopeful we will see job growth in March or April." 

For college junior Daisja Benion, of Middle Island, that is welcome news.

"Getting out there, not really knowing -- it's scary," said the Briarcliffe College student, who has already secured an internship and part-time work in her chosen field of graphic art -- vital steps as she prepares to wade into the tight job pool.

Joanne Cambria is already deep in that pool and continues to network with strangers and friends in the hope of finally landing a job.

 "I know there's something right around the corner," she said.

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