Ohio Job Fairs Attract Fewer Businesses, More Job Seekers.
Many Central Ohioans are searching for work. With Ohio's unemployment rate hovering around ten percent, it's not getting any easier. WOSU's Jen Monroe went to a job fair to ask applicants how the job search is going.
"You looking for an interest in a sales position with A-D-T? (Um, more administrative). More administrative? Ok!"
More than five-hundred people showed up for a job fair held on Ohio State's campus. Many of the applicants have been unemployed for months. Reynoldsburg resident Paul Bailey says the job market
"Pretty much sucks. I mean I've gone to these job fairs and a lot of the times I've put in applications, I've gone online. I haven't heard anything."
For fifteen years Bailey worked as a correctional officer in Virginia. In 2009 he joined the National Guard and later was deployed to Iraq. While he was overseas his wife and four children moved to Ohio. He joined them when he returned, but work in Ohio has been difficult to find.
"I've been to Iraq four different times, mainly because it's easier to get deployed than it is to get a job here."
Bailey says the National Guard has helped him and his family through the recession.
"I mean they brought me out of a lot of debt that normally I would have accumulated if I was just sitting here."
At the job fair, Bailey has lots of company. Statistics from the United States Department of Labor show Ohio's unemployment rate is the highest its been since 1984. Bexley resident Myesha Pugh graduated from Ohio State two years ago. She says in the past year she's applied for ninety jobs.
"It's kind of hard to find the job that you want, as far as what you had actually majored in. You oftentimes settle for whatever's out there and it's kind of hard for you to get into that actual field." Says Pugh.
And the number of people looking for work outweighs the number of available jobs. Marsha Oliveri is the general manager of Job News. She put together the fair, and says fewer businesses are attending.
"Five years ago, four years ago, we had sixty companies on average attending events. Now we see typically thirty to forty companies recruiting."
Oliveri says there are three-hundred openings at the job fair. That means fewer than half of the people who attend could end up with a job. Paul Bailey is discouraged.
"To be honest with you, I don't expect to get anything. I'm just doing this and hoping for the best."
As Bailey goes back to his applications, dozens of people walk around him eager to find employment. One thing all these people have in common common is their similar, frustrating story of their time spent searching for work.
Jen Monroe, WOSU News.