The end of the pandemic is hopefully in sight, the economy is improving, the job market is doing better, and unemployment rates are on the decline. So, are career counselors frantically updating their own resumes and exploring new careers? Not quite. Unfortunately, even in better times, there are still many people in our community who are struggling with their job search or employment situation. Why is that?
The unemployment rate nationally is 4.8% however the rate in New Jersey is 7.2%, reflective of how hard the Garden State has been hit by the pandemic compared to other parts of the nation. We also live in an area of the country that has one of the highest costs of living. In addition, many of the jobs available are not suitable for every job seeker and often do not pay a livable wage for this area. In fact, over 50% of jobs in NJ pay less than $20/hour.
There are, of course, other “fast growing” jobs with higher annual wages, however, many require specific training, licensing, or degrees. This is not an option for job seekers who cannot afford the time or expense of going back to school. The myriad of part time, 2nd or 3rd shift jobs, seasonal or contract positions that are routinely available are also not practical for many.
Younger job seekers, surprisingly, are also struggling, but often for a different reason. A recent study by Mind Share Partners revealed that half of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers have left a job for mental health reasons. While there are a number of reasons cited for this disturbing trend, it is clear that those on the other end of the job search spectrum have also been in need of support in finding new jobs and even a change of careers.
At Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties, Career Services are available for anyone in the community who is unemployed, underemployed or seeking a career change. Individual career counseling, as well as job search groups, offer advice on job search techniques, interviewing skills, resumes and much more. If you are a recent college graduate, a stay-at-home mother needing to return to the workforce, a recently laid off professional who hasn’t had to look for a job in 30 years, or anyone else in need of job search assistance JFS is here to help. If you would like more information about the Career Services program, contact Elise Prezant at 908-725-7799 x108 or eprezant@JewishFamilySvc.org.