Job fair offers hope to jobless - Montgomery Alabama news.

Job fair offers hope to jobless

Sheena Echols looks over an application at Wednesday's job fair. Sheena Echols looks over an application at Wednesday's job fair.

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - To give you some idea of just how tough it is to find a job, consider the story of Sheena Echols.

"It's really difficult out there," said Echols.

Fresh out of college, Echols not only has an undergraduate degree but also armed with a Master's in psychology. We found Echols at the WSFA-sponsored job fair looking for just about anything to make ends meet.

Echols is by far not alone. At one point the line to the job fair was backed up by the hundreds. Echols isn't ready to embrace the notion by some economists that the recession is starting to end. The U.S. Labor Department says the unemployment rate actually fell in September in 19 states. Alabama was not among them. In fact, the state along with 22 other states saw the jobless rate rise.

"Sometimes I feel like it's improving, sometimes I don't feel that way," said Echols.

On the flip side some employers at the job fair say they are starting to see a change for the better.

"Over the last two months we've seen a trend up," said Cracker Barrel General Manager Kim Helwege.

And while AVON doesn't actually hire people and put them on its payroll, district sales manager Vicki Pilgreen says AVON sales have increased by 2% in the last 60 days, not a dramatic jump but better than nothing.

"It's a jump and I'm encouraged by what I see," said Pilgreen.

If only Sheena Echols could enjoy the same good fortune.

Echols didn't find anything at the job fair but did have two job interviews this week.

The Labor Department says Alabama has the 11th highest unemployment rate, so which state is at the top of the list? Michigan where 15% of its residents are out of work.

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