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Job Seekers Nervous, but Hopeful at Local Fair

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Last week came word that Ohio’s unemployment rate has soared to nearly 9 percent. It’s getting scary out there and perhaps no more so than for soon-to-graduate college students. ideastream®’s Dan Bobkoff visited a job fair late last week at Cleveland State University to get a sense of the mood.

Friday, February 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm

How is this for supply and demand in the job market? Last year at this job fair, there were 207 employers with tables, and the students would mosey on in at their convenience. This year, there were just 140 employers looking to hire, and the job hunters.…

HOWARD-PRIMES: People were waiting in line at 7:00 this morning, and the doors didn’t open up until 9.

Kathi Howard-Primes is a career counselor at CSU.

HOWARD-PRIMES: I’ve been here 6 years and I’ve never seen people waiting at 7:00 in the morning.

So all these students and recent grads and out of work Clevelanders stand in line at 7 in the morning waiting to get into this job fair, and… are they finding anything?

WESTON: To be honest, haven’t found much.

Libra Weston is standing with her friend Lindsay Mosby, who's having no luck.

MOSBY: Like I tried to get a receptionist job, but I couldn’t get it because I was overqualified. And then entry level positions, not only am I competing with recent college grads, but also people recently laid off willing to take cut pay. So, it’s very hard.

That’s not to say there aren’t openings. The job fair featured everything from software companies to insurance firms to the government. Most said hiring was down, but there were still openings—the best opportunities are with the government and its likely to continue that way, with a huge expansion of government in the works from the Obama administration. That gives some here a sense of hope.

In the lobby, job-seeker Riddi Shah geared up for the hunt.

SHAH: A little nervous. Not sure about the hopeful part yet. I mean, who knows.

Dan Bobkoff 90.3

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