Expert: More opportunities for unemployed

March 3, 2011 3:26:49 PM PST
With private companies hiring again, the job market appears to be improving -- across the nation and in Chicago.

More than 200,000 jobs were created in the U.S. last month, according to ADP, a payroll processing company. And that is welcome news to job seekers, many of whom have looked for months or even years without luck.

Recent college grad Lauren Brown wasn't sure she'd find a job using her computer engineering degree. But she was hired on as a retail data support analyst by Shopper Trak, a growing Chicago company.

"I actually took a few classes just to prolong that until I found a job. It was very stressful. I was on interviews for two weeks straight," Brown said.

Shopper Trak offers retailers information about how many people are in their stores and how much they're spending. With increasing demand from clients, Shopper Trak is expanding its staff with12 recent hires and wants to keep growing.

"As retail gets stronger there's more opportunity for us to help our retail customers work differently and work smarter about how they are servicing their customers," said Teresa Burgin Krueger, Shopper Trak.

Krueger is the senior marketing communications manager here. She knows the stats about the company and she knows what it's like to be looking for work. She was out of work for 16 months. The single mother of two came on as a short term contractor, but started fulltime on Monday.

"I think we're all excited about having a little bit of normalcy. I think we are all in my house excited about a little bit of normalcy. It was nice to have mom home, but good for me to be back to having a normal schedule coming home being happy," Krueger said.

At Manpower, a global staffing firm, recruiters try to keep with demand from employers. Locally they're seeing employers hiring in manufacturing, particularly highly skilled works; financial services, to help with loan modifications; call centers; healthcare and sales.

"I would recommend getting back into the job market. People who have been out for 2 years are getting opportunities, which is really excellent," Anne Edmonds, Manpower.