This year, the post-winter season job hunt’s no sweat
With Park City area resorts planning to close after April 16, mountain hosts, liftees, and other seasonal workers wishing to stay in the Wasatch and Summit counties will be on the hunt for employment.
They won’t need to look far this year, however, according to the local Utah Department of Workforce Services offices. With the local economy on the rebound, the number of job listings is unusually high for this time of year.
DWS employment counselor Sandra McCormick, who has worked with Park City’s office since 1997, counts nearly 300 jobs for Summit and Wasatch county listings this week twice the number of last year for this time in the season.
"We have many, many jobs available and we haven’t really even started to see summer listing yet," she says.
Jobs listed are generally in the construction industry, such as machine operators, truck drivers and carpenters, but there are also several housekeeping and lawn maintenance jobs, jobs for cooks, and in Wasatch County, several teaching positions have been posted.
For those with adventuresome spirits, McCormick recommends applying for a job with the food service company Aramark currently looking to recruit 300 workers to fill various positions from May through October in Denali and Glacier Bay, Alaska.
"Workforce News," a DWS publication, reports that Mountainlands counties, including Utah, Summit and Wasatch counties, have achieved year-over job growth rates each month in the range of 4.4 percent to 5.9 percent in the last few years. Translated into the number of jobs, the counties saw a total of around 10,700 more jobs in the fall of 2005 than there were at that same time in 2004.
Construction has provided nearly 2,430 new jobs in the Mountainlands, DWS says. The publication attributes the growth in building activity to a favorable interest rate environment and expanding population.
Second to construction, the article suggests that professional and business services are also driving the area economy forward. Of the 2,075 new jobs in the two industries, 970 are professional, scientific and technical with 510 related to administrative and support services to businesses.
While the latest DWS statistics show unemployment statewide at 3.8 percent for the month of December 2005, Summit County’s unemployment for that same month was three percent.
Those seeking to file for unemployment, can search DWS’s Web site at jobs.utah.gov, or by calling toll-free at 800-848-0688.
Samuel Hendricksen, DWS employment counselor at the department’s Park City Office, says his office is equipped with phones and Internet access for the public.
He suggests that those who are laid-off from seasonal jobs, apply for unemployment as they search for their next job.
"It’s always an option to file for unemployment and look for a job at the same time. It gives people something to work with, which is important if they don’t have a job right away," he said.
McCormick recalls five years ago when housekeeping employers raised hourly pay to $12 and $15 per hour. The pay for those jobs has since dropped to $8 to $10 an hour, and not enough to appeal to those workers who alternatively could live on unemployment for as much as 26 weeks, she says.
"A lot of seasonal workers file for unemployment if they qualify for it and just live off of unemployment for the off season," she explains.
McCormick recommends employers begin to increase their wages from the $10 average to draw new hires.
"For the past year, it’s been hard for employers to find workers, but they’re still not competing by raising their wages and that’s something they’re going to have to start doing to attract employees," she said. "We’re still very much an employee market right now."
The Park City’s office for the Utah Department of Workforce Services is located at 1960 Sidewinder Drive, Suite 202. For more information, call 649-8451. The office is open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The DWS office in Heber City is open four days a week, Monday through Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Heber City Employment center is located at 69 North 600 West, Suite C and can be contacted by calling (435) 654-6520.
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Summit County residents still looking to get vaccinated can do so this coming Monday at the Eccles Center, with community members as young as 12 welcome.