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Long-term unemployed seek prospects at Franklin job fair

  • Gary Adams of Central NH Employment Services talks with a prospective job candidate during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Gary Adams of Central NH Employment Services talks with a prospective job candidate during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

    New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library. (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

  • Gary Adams of Central NH Employment Services talks with a prospective job candidate during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • Zach Jonas of Next Generation Climate talks with a job seeker during a job fair at the Franklin Public Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)
  • New Hampshire Employment Security Commission George Copadis visits with Caroline Kirkfield of Home Intstead Senior Care during Friday's job fair at the Franklin Public Library.  (Alan MacRae/for the Monitor)

Daisy Magill would like to work with kids, or maybe animals. That’s about all she knows right now, at age 19 and two months after graduating from Franklin High School.

So she wound a slow path yesterday, browsing through the first New Hampshire Employment Security Job Fair in Franklin.

She’s still thinking about attending classes at NHTI, but she might be looking for a job in the meantime.

“My dad told me about this. He said I should probably come,” Magill said, clutching a pile of papers from some of the 30 employers.

The summer has been a mix of “a little job searching and a lot of relaxing with school over,” she said.

For some of the other attendees, especially people who have been out of work for a while, the fair, the first New Hampshire Employment Security has held in Franklin, was more urgent.

Both the national and local job markets have improved steadily since the end of the Great Recession. Nationally, 209,000 net new jobs were created in July, according to figures released yesterday by the U.S. Labor Department.

New Hampshire’s unemployment rate for June, the most recent data available, was 4.4 percent, down from a high of 6.7 percent, where it sat for four months at the end of 2009.

One staffing agency representative who didn’t want to be identified because she wasn’t authorized to speak with the press said she’s been looking for as many as 30 high-school educated people interested in entry-level manufacturing work.

“We still hear from people that there are no jobs out there. There’s a perception no one’s hiring, but that needs to change. The economy’s improved. There are jobs,” she said.

Jay Hamel, vice president of MAS Medical Staffing of Londonderry, attended yesterday’s fair in search of nurses, licensed nursing assistants and home caregivers. Because the company is a medical staffing agency and most of the positions it fills are temporary, finding and keeping qualified staff is hard, he said.

“We’re always hiring. We’re always looking for good, compassionate, reliable people,” he said.

Nicole Lemelin, a recruiter for Lakes Region Community Services, had a productive day, she said. She met at least two people with bachelor’s degrees that would qualify them for a position as a family educator with the agency’s early support center.

“We are seeing more and more people with degrees,” she said. “But more and more of them also already have jobs, they’re just looking for something else, something better.”

Long-term challenge

The ranks of the long-term unemployed (those without work for six months or more) have thinned, too, to fewer than 3 million nationally last month, from a high of 6.8 million in April 2010.

But reports show that many of those people are getting part-time work instead of full-time jobs. Wayne Perreault of Franklin is one of them.

It’s been 20 months since he was laid off from his machine shop job, and two months since his part-time traffic control work ended. Now almost 59 years old, he’s tired, frustrated and near despair. He’s applied for positions as far from home as Plymouth, Londonderry and Newport.

“My unemployment benefit ran out. My state benefit ran out. My federal benefit ran out,” he said.

“Today, things went reasonably decent. The people were nice, but there was nothing in machining,” he said.

His story is familiar to Candace Whittemore, who attended the fair to represent the Senior Community Service Employment Program of the Community Action Program of Belknap and Merrimack Counties.

“A lot of people I come across at these events are the long-term unemployed, and especially for the older workers, they don’t have the newest skills they need to participate,” she said, estimating that half of the people she spoke with yesterday were older and had been unemployed for at least six months.

Perreault left without any job prospects, but he said talking with Whittemore was one bright spot in the day.

“She told me about some financial aid there is for me. No one’s told me about that stuff before,” he said.

Tony O’Shaughnessy left the job fair with a much brighter forecast: An interview scheduled for next week.

“I tried not to have any expectations,” he said later. “That way you can’t be disappointed. But this has been good. It’s been really good.”

O’Shaughnessy, who’s 33, has a college degree and is looking for work as an admissions counselor for a school or college, or a job where he could use his fluent Spanish as an interpreter, he said.

He’s been looking actively for the past month, and said it hasn’t been going well.

Yesterday’s event buoyed his spirits after a disappointing response to the online applications he’s submitted.

“Online, it’s so impersonal. It’s impossible to get face-to-face time with someone,” he said.

“I dressed well, I can make an impression. But without events like this, I don’t know how an employer could identify me as a potential fit for them.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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