Job forecast still dim in Bay Area


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The Bay Area is behind the rest of the country in showing any signs of an employment comeback.

A national survey by the employment service, Manpower, shows that 12 percent of 28,000 companies polled plan to add people between now and the end of the year.

In the Bay Area, only 9 percent of the companies in San Francisco and Oakland say they plan to hire, while 11 percent plan to do so in Silicon Valley.

"In the San Francisco market, it seems as if the financial industry and the education and health services market segments are picking a bit, whereas in the South Bay it seems to be more in the wholesale and retail trade and in the manufacturing segment," Manpower spokesperson Bill Lewis said.

Layoffs are still on the horizon by 19 percent of the San Francisco and Oakland companies and 14 percent in the Valley.

About two-thirds of the companies in both areas expect no change in employment.

"When you get three interviews in a row and then you get three strikes in a row all in a day and a half, that tends to bum you out for a while," Ed Marshall said. Marshall, from Vacaville, has been looking for work for 11 months.

Employment experts say some companies are hesitant to hire until they see a solid economic recovery.

"Employers are conservative right now, and some of them do have postings up for positions they hope that they will need by the time they find the right person, and maybe when that person is identified, they don't have the need anymore," Lewis said.

San Jose-based career coach Marge Powers says she is seeing a lot of frustrated and angry job seekers.

"Make it OK to be afraid, but look at the areas where you can have control; if it could be a career assessment, find a good career coach, if it could be your resume, make sure that resume's great," she said.

Powers is working on a book about what works and what does not in a job hunt.

With rare exception, job seekers are going to have to be patient. The search for a job will stretch not into weeks, but months.

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