Jan 10, 2011 8:04 PM by Matt Stafford

Positive job numbers, negative outlook

December numbers from the Labor Department show improvement in the job market, but for those on the front lines -- trying to find work -- things aren't looking so positive.

"People come and go all day long," says Byron Gunn, who's unemployed and spending his days at the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

Gunn says it's so busy that it's hard to find an empty computer at the Workforce Center, or at libraries. He's using both to try and find work, after being unemployed off and on for two years.

"My full-time job right now is looking for a full-time job," say Gunn; and without many jobs on the market, it's tough for him to find a good fit.

"You're either under-qualified or over-qualified." Gunn explains.

However the Labor Department says things are getting better; with 103,000 jobs added to the economy in December, and one of the largest single-month drops in the unemployment rates in years -- from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent.

"We have withered away some of the unemployment problem in the country," explains Fred Crowley, an economist for the U.C.C.S. Forum. But he says most of the new jobs came in the service sector -- not the valuable goods-producing jobs that often spur more job growth -- and the jobs aren't coming fast enough.

"It doesn't matter if the numbers say they are improving; if you and your neighbor aren't working, it's not a good economy," Crowley says. He adds that in El Paso County we have about 30,000 unemployed people that are looking for work right now; just like Gunn.

"I never had this much trouble looking for a job, I mean I started working at the age of 16," Gunn says. Now for him the pressure is on, his unemployment assistance from the government ran out last month.

"I've saved a little bit," Gunn says. "I've got maybe a month and a half saved."

However he's finding out that he needs to update his resume. He really needed help with computer skills, and he's getting that at the Workforce Center.

"You got to have the skills and if you don't have them, the job is not there for you," Gunn explains.

He's hoping these long days of searching will land him a real "nine to five."


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