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Some can't find the job they want

February 12, 2006|By DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -

An Iraq War veteran, Army reservist and mother, 22-year-old Stephenie Bender also is a job-seeker, one of an estimated 2,200 in Franklin County in December, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Earlier this month, Bender was at the Franklin County CareerLink office on Norland Avenue, scrolling through hundreds of positions posted by employers on its Web site.

Life, she said, is different from when she was in the Army.

"Now, I'm thrown into the real world, where everything is not provided for you and I don't know where to start," she said.

In the past year, Bender said, she had held three jobs - in a nursing home, at a convenience store and with an employment agency - all of which she left due to issues of pay and hours.

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"I'm looking for reliable hours because my family is very important to me," Bender said. "I'm looking for a good income with good hours so I can be on my own."

While she does not have a job, she is not drawing unemployment benefits while she looks for work, preferably in the health and safety field, which fits her military training.

The problem facing county residents such as Bender is not a lack of help-wanted signs, but finding the job they want.

"I'm just between jobs," said Loretta Socks of Chambersburg, who also was at CareerLink. The former Hagerstown resident said she had been working as a waitress, but now is hunting for an office or clerical position.

The estimate of how many people are employed or unemployed is based on a monthly telephone survey sampling of households, which is conducted during the week in which the 12th falls, said Ryan Horner, an industry and business analyst with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as unemployed those people who are "able and available for work; who had actively engaged in any job-seeking activity within the past four weeks; who were waiting to be called back to a job from which they had been laid off; or who were waiting to report to a new wage or salary job within the following 30 days."

That would include a number of people who, during the week of the survey, are transitioning from one job to another and thus are only briefly out of the work force. Those younger than 16 are not counted in the survey, whether they work or not, and the survey does not account for discouraged workers, Horner said.

Discouraged workers, he said, are defined as those who had been seeking jobs, but stopped because they feel there is no job available for them.

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