The nation's unemployment rate reached a four year high in August to 6.1 percent, and the trend of job losses is being felt right here in New Hanover County. Agencies who help place those in jobs are feeling the crunch more than ever. Bonnie Foster acts as the first line of defense for people looking for employment. She works as a staffing supervisor at Kelly Services, a company that places job seekers into temporary or permanent work. She said the people she helps are shifting from first time job hunters to pink slip recipients. "It's seems like that is trickling down, the economy is trickling down to people being laid off,” Foster said. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the economy has suffered more than 600,000 job losses just this year. Nationwide, the unemployment rate has surged to a high of 6.1 percent. North Carolina is higher than that average at 6.6 percent. Foster said, "The people that are now out there looking are people interestingly enough are people who some of them we placed on assignments and because they were the last person in they are going to be the first person out." Walker Biggs, manager at the Employment Security Commission said New Hanover County seems to be staying above the statewide unemployment increase because our service industry and tourist economy is working in our favor. "There are layoffs going on but it's not at the extent that you are seeing in other places,” said Biggs. For those searching for a new job, Biggs said there are some tips to keep in mind. First, start by doing your research. Use the web, newspaper and word of mouth for help. Second, update your resume and brush up on interviewing skills. Finally, put your best foot forward to make a good first impression. Biggs says the most important thing is to not get discouraged. "The thing is they got to stay positive. They have something to sell to an employer and they have to remember that and they need to figure out what are there assets. What is going to make an employer hire them,” Biggs said. After a job loss, most tend to head to the Employment Security Commission office. The E.S.C. has a Job Link Resource Center where people can use the web to find jobs. They also offer on-the job training programs as well. For more information call the E.S.C. at 910-251-5777, or visit their website at www.ncesc.com.
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