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Hundreds Turn Out For Job Fair

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NORTH COVENTRY PA – Hundreds of people turned out Thursday morning (April 2, 2009) for a free and heavily promoted spring job fair conducted by the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce at the North Coventry Fire Company on Route 724. Workers-in-waiting patiently sought their turns to speak with assembled employers and organizations offering help to those needing jobs.

There’s more such help to come. A career fair that features up to 20 area businesses recruiting for part-time, full-time, temporary and seasonal employment, will be held April 22 (2009; Wednesday) from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the South Hall lobby of Montgomery County Community College, 101 College Dr., Pottstown PA.

Meanwhile, the number of people filing first-time jobless claims increased last week and those already receiving benefits hit a record for 10th straight week, according to federal Labor Department figures released Thursday morning. The agency said initial claims for unemployment insurance nationwide increased to 669,000 … 12,000 more than the previous week’s revised figures. The number exceeded analysts expectations and is the highest in more than 26 years.

In other labor-related news Thursday:

Employees say they’re generally optimistic. Results of a national survey of employed adults shows that fewer employees feel secure in their jobs, but a sizeable majority – 74 percent – have no concerns about being laid off. The survey, by Glassdoor.com, also indicates an even larger margin of workers, 86 percent, thinks their company’s outlook will stay the same or improve within the next six months. And 36 percent of them are confident they’ll receive an annual raise.

U.S. companies seem to be imposing fewer job cuts. The number of announced layoffs by U.S.-based employers dropped again last month (March 2009), representing the second consecutive month of lowered workforce reductions, the Philadelphia Business journal reported, citing a study by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Since the beginning of 2008, more than 1.8 million job cuts have been announced. Employers in government and nonprofit sectors conducted the heaviest layoffs during March, it said, followed by the pharmaceutical industry.

There’s labor peace, sort of, in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania and its largest employee unions said they came to terms on ways to reduce state labor costs, allowing Gov. Ed Rendell to rescind his threat to immediately begin rolling furloughs of state workers. The unions gave the state permission to reduce by 20 percent the amount it would contribute to employee health care benefits, saving $200 million over 15 months. It will pay the money back in installments, beginning in September 2010. Rendell also installed a pay freeze for state managers and non-union employees, saving another $140 million through 2011.

If you’re unemployed, there’s help available. The Pottstown law firm of Wolf Baldwin and Associates, which specializes in unemployment and worker compensation issues, blogged about joblessness in neighboring Berks County and state distribution of unemployment benefits. The final paragraph of its post includes links on articles about how to file for unemployment, and how to stretch job severance dollars.

Editor’s note: Some items in this story resulted from tweets received at The Sanatoga Post’s Twitter account. Feel free to follow or contact us on Twitter @jzlomek.

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