Some companies still saying "Help Wanted"by Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
It seems like each day, there are headlines about mass layoffs and job cuts. But if you look carefully, you can still find companies that are hiring. State officials say there are thousands of jobs available throughout Minnesota. The trick is knowing how and where to find them.
Minneapolis, Minn. — The experts say they know there are jobs available, they're just not sure exactly how many.
That's because the state Department of Employment and Economic Development has an estimate that's six months old. So, as of last summer, there were about 50,000 open positions created in Minnesota each month.
State officials say the job cuts of the past few months mean we're now losing more jobs than we're creating.
But people are still out there looking.
Earlier this week, about 250 job seekers showed up for a free job search clinic held at the Carlson office towers in Minnetonka.
The three-hour seminar included workshops on using the internet for networking and for finding jobs.
An executive search firm, McKinley Group, sponsored the clinic. As Tony Sorenson, the company's co-owner, introduced one of the speakers, he affirmed something the attentive job seekers knew already.
"Things are tough out there. It is difficult to find work," Sorenson said. "But there are companies hiring. Our goal today, and the theme is helping Minnesota get back to work."
Like so many Minnesota companies, the McKinley Group has recently undergone a round of layoffs.
Sorenson says due to a decrease in demand for the services McKinley provides, he's had to let five of his 50 employees go.
But Sorenson says some industries are doing better in this climate, like medical device makers as well health care service providers.
Food manufacturer General Mills has more than 20 open positions and Sorenson says some private educational and vocational schools are seeing an increase in business.
"Right now with so many people unemployed, they're asking themself, 'What can I do to differentiate myself with the person sitting next to me that's also looking for a job?'" Sorenson said. "Places like Capella; places like Rasmussen; places like Brown. If you don't have your degree, now is the time that people are looking to get that degree."
Over at Capella Education Company, Human Resources Vice President Sally Chial says they are enrolling more students and hiring faculty as a result.
Capella is a virtual university. Students complete their course work online.
Chial says that's one of the reasons Capella is growing during the recession. She says Capella's courses are convenient for people looking to acquire skills to make themselves more appealing to current or future employers.
Right now, Capella employs about 1,200 people in Minneapolis and another 1,100 around the country and the world. They're looking to hire about 50 more.
Chial says in some cases they are receiving up as many as 200 applications for one faculty position.
"So we are in one of those nice spots where we can really hire some of the best," she said. "And we're in a situation where we're seeing more over-qualified applicants for certain roles than we've have probably seen ever before."
There are more Capellas out there.
However they may be harder to find in the coming months.
Steve Hine of the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development says he doesn't know for sure just yet, but he predicts the number of job vacancies is going down.
Hine says there are two reasons for this. The first reason is that, obviously, with fewer companies hiring, there will be fewer open jobs.
"Another contributing factor to the possible decrease in the number of vacancies is that it may take less time for employers to fill vacancies that are open," Hine added.
According to Hine, there will be more details when the results of the latest statewide job vacancy survey are released next week.
In the meantime there's additional evidence to show the demand for jobs is outpacing the supply.
The Conference Board, the group which keeps track of a host of economic indicators, announced recently that the number of online help wanted ads dipped 10 percent between in the past two months.
- All Things Considered, 02/19/2009, 5:19 p.m.