PLATTSBURGH — Staffing agencies are optimistic about the local job market.
Three local agencies that connect people with jobs were among the exhibitors at the North Country Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Business Expo, held Thursday at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
ETS Director of Sales and Recruiting David Coryer said he sees a robust local jobs market.
ETS has a number of positions available with salaries of more than $40,000 a year plus benefits, he said.
“Our problem isn’t jobs; it’s candidates. We’re always looking for candidates.”
He said numbers for temporary employees and temps-to-hire are up 30 percent compared to last year.
The market was a lot tougher in 2010, Coryer said, as the region started to emerge from the economic downturn. The situation has improved, he said, as 2011 was the firm’s best year ever and 2012 has started out even better.
ETS President and CEO Hope Coryer said she’s pleasantly surprised by the number of job opportunities in the region.
She remains optimistic that Laurentian Aerospace will launch its proposed aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Plattsburgh International Airport.
“We can’t wait to start hiring those aerospace workers,” she said.
Westaff Regional Manager Gary Wagoner said there is still a lot of excitement among businesspeople about the potential of Laurentian Aerospace, despite the project delays.
“I’m staying optimistic about that,” he said.
Wagoner said the job outlook, which had slowed during the economic downturn, started to pick up about a year ago. Westaff supplies companies with both temp-to-hire and direct-placement employees at all levels, from laborers to executives.
“We are seeing a lot of people coming in lately,” he said.
That includes those who are underemployed — in jobs below their skill set — in addition to people who are out of work.
While business seems to be on the rise, he said, some employers are slow to start hiring.
“I think a lot of businesses are more cautious. They seem to be taking their time during the selection process.”
He believes the region’s proximity to Canada continues to benefit this region, especially when the Canadian dollar is strong. Wagoner said that helps the retail and manufacturing sectors.
Ken Ballard, owner of the Spherion franchise in Plattsburgh, said pockets of skill sets exist locally for certain jobs. He said a common complaint of employers is that there aren’t enough qualified candidates.
“Finding employees is difficult, but there are more out there than people think,” Ballard said.
People can get a false impression of what’s happening on the jobs front locally when they listen to negative reports from around the country, he said.
Spherion has seen a steady stream of applicants since it opened in Plattsburgh in 2010, Ballard said.
“I’m very happy with what’s happening in this community,” he said.
Ballard said he expects the next few months to be a little tougher, but the job market typically picks up in the third and fourth quarter.
“I’m cautiously optimistic looking forward.”
Chamber Executive Vice President Jody Parks said 186 booths were staffed at the Biz Expo, which usually attracts about 1,500 people.
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