More than 1,000 Long Islanders packed a job fair Wednesday featuring over 100 companies at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City while the local and national unemployment rate remains high, although jobseekers had mixed feelings on the job market and economic recovery.
“The job market stinks, there are a lot of people out of work,” said Mike Bowman, a 50-year-old Levittown resident who has been out of work for more than two years after being let go from his job in television production. He was considering work at Advanced Auto Parts and local banks.
Although the competition was still, some recent college graduates out searching for work remained upbeat. Peter Siegmann, who just graduated from The University of Miami in May, said that he came to the fair in hopes of finding a job in engineering after recently completing an internship.
“So far it looks pretty good here,” said Siegmann, 22, of Baldwin. “I’m happy to see engineering jobs available. I hope the economy improves soon.”
They were not alone. Nassau and Suffolk county both have less than a 7.0 percent unemployment rate, which as of April, is 0.7 percent less than the New York State rate, according to the state Department of Labor.
Hiring slowed sharply nationwide in May. Employers added only 54,000 net new jobs. That was much slower than the average gain of 220,000 per month in the previous three months. The national unemployment rate rose to 9.1 percent.
Val Suarez, associate support department supervisor of Home Depot in Freeport, was surprised by the turnout of the event.
“I’ve found this to be the largest turnout of all of the jobs fairs I’ve been to this spring season,” said Suarez. “Within one hour I’ve spoken to over 100 people, for this day so far I would say I’ve spoken to anywhere from 400 to 500 people” at the fair’s halfway mark.
Sarah Hayman, 27, who just moved to Long Island from North Carolina, said her two month long search for a job has been trying her patience. “It is bad, very bad,” said Hayman, who was searching for jobs in telemarketing.
“I’ve been looking for over a month,” said Patricia Johnston, 42, of Oceanside, an unemployed social worker. But Johnston remained positive. “I think it is tough out there but we have to have hope in order to get the economy going.”
-With Associated Press