Job growth and unemployment have been on the minds of many throughout the country. In New Jersey, the latest statistics show 2,600 jobs added in the state, but unemployment rose from 9 percent to 9.1 percent. Many in the state also look for summer jobs. Department of Labor and Workforce Development Assistant Commissioner Jeff Stoller is optimistic about the prospects for summer employment in New Jersey. He spoke with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider about seasonal employment and some opportunities some job-seekers might overlook.
Stoller said he sees interest and activity picking up this summer in the Jersey shore area and tourism industry. “Bookings are up and it really seems there’s some real optimism going into this summer season,” he said. “That means that not only is tourism along the shore going to have the prospect of some restored hiring that we expect from past years, but it’s also going to have implications for tourism and typical summer jobs throughout the state.”
While many have already done their hiring for the summer, Stoller said potential employees should think outside of the typical food, beverage and entertainment industries that are most often associated with summer jobs. Examples he gave that need extra help during the summer months were clothing stores, building and development maintenance and the auto parts industry.
Although New Jersey’s unemployment rate had a slight increase, Stoller said he’s hopeful for the future. “We looked back at what happened last summer in all of these areas,” he said. “There was a significant increase in hiring just over 2010 to 2011.” He said the trend in jobs over the past six months has shown new net jobs, especially in the private sector.
Stoller said there is help out there for those looking for work. “People can really pursue using the tools that the Department of Labor and others are putting out there to help people who are seeking jobs connect more easily with the employers who say, ‘We really do have opportunities here but can’t seem to find people to fill them.’”
Part of the Department of Labor’s strategy, according to Stoller, is to offer tools for job-seekers, including the website jobs4jersey.com. “That is aimed primarily at the full-time job search market, but it also encompasses the temporary and the seasonal work that people will be looking for as well,” he said.