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April 28. 2013 12:18AM

Summer jobs are out there, but so are the applicants

Here are some words to the wise job hunter.

"I would get my name in the hat early, and get it in as many hats as you can," said Annette Nielsen, an economist with the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. "There are jobs out there - and a lot of people looking for them."

Cremeland, a popular Manchester eatery, has already filled all available job openings for the summer.

"I'm turning away an average of five people a day," said Cremeland owner Nicole Queena. "Most of the staff we'll have here are returning from last year. We're down a few positions this summer though. Usually, we have about 36 employees here. This year we're at 30. I don't expect to be hiring anyone else either."

In contrast, Diane Sawyer, human resources director for the YMCA of Greater Manchester, said she has had to wear a job recruiter hat this spring.

"We can't find enough people," said Sawyer. "We've had jobs posted since February, and they still aren't filled."

Sawyer said she is looking to fill 15 full-time seasonal positions at various YMCA camps across the state. A full list of open jobs can be found at www.yogm.org.

Dan Chapman, a human resources analyst for the city of Manchester, said the city is looking to fill more than 100 temporary seasonal positions.

"The hiring sign is out," said Chapman, who said the jobs include 13 lifeguard supervisor positions, 33 lifeguard openings and 24 temporary recreation maintenance workers. Details are available at the city website, www.manchesternh.gov.

Karmen Gifford, executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, said she has seen the number of job openings at area tourist destinations begin to pick up recently.

"I think it's a good sign," said Gifford. "I know the Speedway is hiring, resorts are hiring and the attractions are starting to call back people from last summer. I've seen full-time jobs opening up, not just the seasonal part-time spots. I think it's very encouraging."



Tough market



Many people seeking jobs in New Hampshire this summer can expect to face a much more competitive market than in previous years, said Nielsen. A combination of retirees re-entering the work force and teens and college-age students home for the summer could result in a shortage of openings.

"We've seen the national employment rate drop a bit, and there's data that shows that was due to people leaving the labor force," Nielsen said. "But that's not what we're seeing here in New Hampshire. There seems to be a trend showing people getting back into the work force."

According to Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in New Hampshire was 5.8 percent in February, compared with a national rate of 7.7 percent. The New Hampshire jobless rate was 5.3 percent in February 2012.

The rate "is high for New Hampshire, compared to previous years," said Nielsen. "That's why I say it could be difficult for anyone back from school looking for a job. There's already people out there looking."

Unemployment in New Hampshire hit a high-water mark of 6.7 percent between October 2009 and January 2010.

Restaurants and hotels statewide offer about 60,000 seasonal jobs between the beginning of June and the end of August, which is about 10,000 more than are offered off-season.

The entertainment industry boasts the second-biggest spike, adding about 4,000 jobs over the same three-month period of June, July and August.The tourism industry is third with about 3,000 jobs added.

A quarter of teenagers 16 to 19 and 61 percent of adults 20 to 24 were employed last summer across the country, according to a study prepared by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of its annual Kids Count data and analysis.

At employment offices across the state, employment counselors can offer advice to job-seekers, and computers are available to assist with online job searches.

"It's as difficult for kids to find work as it is for professionals," said Stacey Bruzzese, executive director of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. "They need to take their job search seriously and really go after the ones they want."

"We are seeing a lot of applications this year," said Steve LaRocca, owner of Moo's Place ice cream shop in Derry. "We have kids coming in with resumes ready to hand in."

About one-third (36 percent) of businesses in New Hampshire not hiring this summer say the decision is budget-related, a figure that is up 9 percentage points over last summer, according to a survey by SnagAJob.com.

An equal number of hiring managers (36 percent) say they plan to increase existing staff hours this summer, down 11 percentage points from 2012 levels.

Most hiring for summer jobs is done in April and May. By the end of May, 77 percent of all openings have been filled.

pfeely@unionleader.com



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