The unemployment rate in Madison dropped to 5.6 percent in February, down from a month earlier when it was 5.8 percent and the same month last year, when it was 6.5 percent, according to state Department of Labor statistics.
Likewise, the state unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in February, from 8 percent in January. In February, the state added 4,900 new jobs, the state Department of Labor says.
All of that bodes well for people looking for jobs, including older, experienced job seekers who may have been looking for years, or young adults looking for their first summer job, says BJ Clinton, a branch manager specializing in professional staffing services at Robert Half in New Haven, CT. He said is true statewide, in New Haven county, and along the shoreline.
This could be the best job market in three years
“We’re entering what will be the best year in the job market in at least three years,” Clinton said. “As more job opportunities become available, there is only a limited pool of locally available talent available, a smaller pool of individuals competing for sought-after jobs. That will mean results for people who are looking for work.”
Clinton said hiring in healthcare, manufacturing and service companies are all trending up, according to his data.
“Healthcare has always been a vital part of the New Haven county core business. That continues to trend in the right direction. The manufacturing sector is starting to improve. And service companies are also starting to take a swing up. When manufacturing improves, that tends to have a positive impact on service jobs,” he said.
Starting to see a trickle down effect
Another positive trend is hiring in small and mid-sized businesses, Clinton said. “We are starting to see a trickle down effect with the smaller businesses,” he said.
Accounting and financial skills sets are in particularly high demand, Clinton said.
“Staff accountants and financial analysts are in high demand, people who are responsible for tracking and reporting the monthly and quarterly financial strength of a company, and making sure a company’s financial integrity is sound,” Clinton said. “This is particularly critical as we move into a growth economy. Companies need to make sure that growth can be sustained and that they are investing in the areas they need to invest in to continue to grow.”
Bookkeepers and other "transactional individuals" sought
Likewise, “transactional individuals,” including bookkeepers, and job seekers specializing in accounts payable and accounts receivable are in demand, Clinton said. Administrative support fields are starting to see an uptick as well. “From project managers and coordinators to true executive assistants, these kind of skills are in demand as well,” Clinton said. “This tends to be an area that suffers as we go into a downturn. And, as companies increase in activity and staffing, these areas tend to ramp up more quickly than others.”
Clinton had several suggestions for job seekers who want to “spring clean” their job search.
First, he said, remain positive. He said for many people that past few years have been a long, hard slog when it comes to looking for work. Those people need to put their frustrations and the repeated rejections behind and focus on the brighter outlook, he said.
Consider temporary work
Second, he said, consider temporary work. He said many companies are finding that the quickest way to add staff, particularly when it comes to highly specialized jobs, is to do so through temporary jobs. For job seekers, taking a temporary job can be a great way not only to break back into the job market, but also to refresh their own skills.
Third, he said, network in person and online.
“We’re definitely working and living in a world where networking is becoming more and more important. This is a great time to clean up your network. Reconnect with former colleagues who are in the job market. Do it through interpersonal communication, and different websites,” Clinton said. LinkedIn is one such resource that is particularly valuable for job seekers.
The right attitude at the interview could seal the deal
Finally, Clinton said, job seekers should adopt a humble, “I’m here to do the work” attitude. This goes for experience workers and young adults looking for summer employment as well.
“Go into the interview process with a willingness to do whatever it takes,” he said. “Let them know you will help out in any area and have a really positive attitude, a can-do team approach to accepting any position. People gravitate towards a sincere, humble, ‘I’m here to work’ attitude,” he said.
Clinton also recommended that job seekers consider partnering with an appropriate recruiting firm. “That will be another set of eyes and ears that will work on behalf of an individual,” he said. Clinton also recommended that job seekers keep up with the latest buzz words in their industry, perhaps culled from the job advertisements posted by companies, and make sure those words show up in their resumes and cover letters. That way, when they are posted on job boards, the resumes and cover letters will show up in searches.
Scranton Memorial Library offers wealth of resources for job seekers
Madison-area residents can take advantage of Scranton Memorial Library's job resources.
Those resources, which can be accessed online at the library website, include free resume and cover letter templates that can be personalized, resume help, articles from business publications, information about businesses and other career information.
In addition, the Scranton Memorial Library website offers a page with links to resources on other websites.
The state of Connecticut also provides resources, including sponsoring job fairs throughout the year. Upcoming job fairs are being offered April 11, April 14, April 27, and June 19. For more information, visit the state of Connecticut Department of Labor Job Fairs web page.
"Economists permit governor a small bow over jobs" from CT Mirror.
If you've been out of work for an extended time, it could be taking a toll on your relationship. Here's an article in The New York Times about how to maintain your marriage in the face of a job loss. Suggestions include:
- take control
- share responsibility
- set communication routines
- don't overshare
- argue productively
- include the children
- date nights