Economic Lookout: Industry needs a kick-startby Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — With recent polls showing that the economy is one of the biggest issues in the upcoming elections, MPR News is reaching out to contacts in our Public Insight Network to find out how the economy is affecting them.
Sieglinde Waller of St. Paul spoke to MPR's All Things Considered about being unemployed. She's been searching for a job for more than a year and a half.
Waller said some signs have emerged to suggest the economy is turning around for job seekers, even in her field of construction.
"I'm looking into project management and only recently have I really had any nibbles, and fortunately those are incoming, which means people reaching out to me," Waller said. "It says the economy is upticking, but slowly."
She said companies in her field seem to realize that existing employees are being swamped by new work, and that they need help.
"What they're definitely needing is people to take the burden of the day-to-day paperwork off the shoulders of the project manager so they can do the work of managing the people and all of the things that are critical to getting the projects done," Waller said.
But she still doesn't think a job will come her way for at least another year, partly because she doesn't have a bachelor's degree.
"Everybody says, 'Go back to school,'" Waller said. "I can't afford to take on any more debt."
The fact that she is approaching her 50s seems to make finding a job harder. Waller said.
"Some of the positions, they want younger people just because they can mold them to where they want," Waller said. "Other positions, they're going to want experience, but they also want experience at a far cheaper price."
Waller said the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates seem to only be giving lip service to the idea of job creation.
"I keep hearing about jobs being created," she said. "I don't see any jobs being created here, I see jobs going away."
She said neither candidate is proposing the sort of infrastructure creation that she thinks would kick-start hiring in her industry.
- All Things Considered, 08/23/2012, 4:50 p.m.