Despite gains, path to employment still a long road

March 09, 2012

Arizona lost more than 34,000 non-farm jobs in January, both in the public and private sectors. But, that’s fewer lost jobs for that month than the state has seen, on average, over the past decade. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.

MARK BRODIE: Maegen Carlson just started her new job -- like last week. She’s an attorney, working as a student trainee at the U.S. Labor Department. She’s also getting her masters at ASU. She was laid off from her last full-time job two years ago, and has worked on and off at law firms since.

MAEGEN CARLSON: It’s taken me a long time to get to full-time employment.

BRODIE: Carlson says she applied for around a hundred jobs before landing the one she has, a process she describes as challenging.

CARLSON: Going out for interviews and knowing that they have potentially 50 to another 100 resumes that they’re also looking for, so you’re really trying to tailor and craft your resume and that cover letter to really get your foot in the door, and it was a really challenging process.

BRODIE: State economists say part of the reason Arizona lost fewer jobs in January than the ten-year average is that companies hired fewer people than normal in the fourth quarter of last year. Mike Hayes, the owner of Momentum Specialized Staffing in Phoenix, thinks 9 percent unemployment could be the norm in Arizona for a while.

MIKE HAYES: A lot of the hiring that I see in town is basically sub-$15 an hour. That’s where we’re being able to find customers that want people. But also, you have a lot of people in that group.

BRODIE: Hayes says he is seeing some of those temp jobs turning into permanent ones. But, he’s also seeing that take longer in some cases than it has in the past. Meagan Carlson acknowledges her new job could potentially be a short-term one.

CARLSON: It really depends on the administration. And with the election cycle coming into play, there’s no guarantee for anything.

BRODIE: Carlson says she’d like to stay with the agency, but says she’s trying to take it month by month. And, if she has to look for a new job after November, she says it’s not like it’d be something she hasn’t done before.


We met Meagan and Mike through the Public Insight Network. For more information, click here.