YPIC: Fewer layoffs, business closures in 2012
The Yuma Private Industry Council saw more people stop by its career centers and recorded fewer layoffs and business closures in 2012 than it did in 2011.
There are still lots of people looking for work: the unemployed, and the underemployed who are in jobs they're overqualified for but that they take to make ends meet, said Patrick Goetz, business services officer at YPIC. Yuma has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at nearly 30 percent.
Last year, about 33,000 people came through the doors of YPIC's main Yuma career center, its youth center and its office in Somerton, about 1,500 more visitors than in 2011, Goetz said. YPIC posted 1,706 job orders, or advertisements, from 260 employers. It's not clear how many were filled by job-hunters who found positions through YPIC, but the organization tries to celebrate client success out of the downbeat circumstances that bring them in.
“When you see this every day, it weighs pretty heavy on your heart,” Goetz said.
Goetz said local industries with expected growth are in defense (specifically, civilian technical support jobs for the F-35 fighter jet), medical office support staff and solar energy. In the next couple of weeks, YPIC will help recruit workers for the latest solar project to be built in the area, the Hyder II plant operated by Arizona Public Service.
The jobs that go the quickest are general labor, which tend to pay in the $9 to $10 an hour range, and jobs that don't require a background check. Not all employers can find workers, though, such as defense contractors who require employees with specific technical training.
“The key to a good job is a good education or a good skill,” or both, Goetz said.
The year is still young, but January showed a bit of promise when it came to opportunity: “For job orders it's been moving in the right direction,” Goetz said.
Last month, YPIC posted 75 jobs from 48 employers. In January 2012, it posted 48 jobs from 35 employers. The relative bump comes from comparable Decembers: In December 2012, as in December 2011, the group posted about 50 jobs from about 30 employers.
“We're hoping 2013 is a good year,” Goetz said.
In another bit of good news, if containing some bad: To YPIC's knowledge, fewer businesses shed workers or shut their doors in 2012. Last year, 10 companies laid off workers and three closed completely, resulting in the loss of 461 jobs. In 2011, there were 22 layoff events and 16 closures.
YPIC responds to layoffs in hopes of getting displaced workers back on their feet. It also provides assistance with unemployment benefits, resume help, high school diploma equivalency classes and occupational training that can lead to a more meaningful career.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.