Oct 12, 2011 6:56 PM by Matt Stafford

Job seekers searching for optimism too

Of the last three years, Leon Carpenter has spent about half of it on the hunt for work.

"Warehousing, landscaping; pretty much anything I can find in this environment," says Carpenter. "Seasonal work, you know? Winter comes around, it goes away," As someone who has periodically looked for work throughout the last three years, he's seeing some improvement, but it's slim.

"Very slowly they're starting to build, it feels like, but not much," says Carpenter. "Maybe five jobs more, per month, were showing than you were seeing last month."

Still, there's a steady stream of people heading into the local workforce center in Colorado Springs -- even with a new office opening just this week.

The Pikes Peak Workforce Center opened offices in El Paso County's new Citizen Service Center, off of Garden of the Gods Road, on Tuesday. The center on East Pikes Peak Avenue is now closed.

"We were full yesterday, we're full today," says Sherman Swafford, business relations manager and employment development director for the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

"It's staying pretty steady for us, and we're doing everything we can to help people find work."

Swafford says jobseekers are frustrated.

They aren't the only ones.

The latest hiring report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released on Wednesday, shows a slight drop in the number of job openings nationwide -- hovering around 3.1 million in August.

Also, the President's "American Jobs Act" was blocked by the Senate yesterday. The White House says they'll try to push it through piece by piece, but in the meantime Carpenter says we need some kind of jump start and he's tired of waiting.

"I think it would have some impact because employers would be going, 'Hey, I'm going to get extra money, tax breaks, to hire more people,'" explains Carpenter. He wants to be one on the receiving end of the deal.

Workforce Center employees say there may be some temporary help on the horizon.

"There's going to be some seasonal hiring, there's going to be some things going on; just don't lose hope, but it's tough... I can't sugar coat it - it's tough," says Swafford.

That's nothing new for Carpenter; the search continues.

For more on the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, click here.


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