As Cambria County’s unemployment rate has been cut in half during the past nine years, the goals of many job-seekers have changed.
Back during the Great Recession and the immediate aftermath, when the unemployment rate was often above 9 percent, peaking at 10.8 percent in January 2010, individuals were often simply looking for jobs of any kind just to meet their needs.
Now, after a steady decline over the years, local unemployment stands at about 5 percent, meaning many local residents are seeking more than just basic employment.
Debi Balog, Johnstown Area Regional Industries’ director of workforce development, expects that change to impact the upcoming Cambria County Job Fair, which is scheduled to take place from 1 to 5 p.m. May 7 at Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center in downtown Johnstown.
“I think what’s going to be different now is that the unemployment rate is down,” Balog said. “A couple years ago, when the unemployment rate was up, people were looking for jobs – ‘I need a job.’ Right now, I’m getting calls from people that are looking for promotion opportunities. They’re looking for moving into other career pathways, higher wage scale positions. They’re not afraid to move now. There’s a movement among the people that are currently employed.”
More than 80 businesses are scheduled to participate.
“We want to get all the employers under one roof and have all the job-seekers come and take advantage of the opportunity,” Jeff Dick, site administrator of the CareerLink center for Cambria and Somerset counties, said.
Dick and Balog said there are more than 1,000 job openings in the county.
“It could be anything from summer seasonal work, to part-time work, to full-time, family-sustaining wages, growth, some of it’s replacement positions,” Dick said. “A lot of companies are growing or they do need to replace if somebody is retiring. It’s a mix. It really is. If you look online at the different things, it’s all industries, really. CDL drivers are obviously in demand. Welders are in demand.”