Employers Say Coast Job Market Is Strong Despite Layoffs

More Americans than expected filed new claims for unemployment insurance last week. Economic analysts expected claims to rise by about 4,000 with all the recent layoffs around the country, but instead they were up by about 15,000. Analysts say it could be that some laid off workers are having trouble finding other jobs.

Candy Sims recruits new employees for a cosmetics company. She has little trouble finding workers because she says her company offers something very hard to come by now days, job security.

"As long as there are baby girls being born we'll have potential customers," Sims said. "Our customer base grows and grows.We don't ever have to worry about getting the pink slip ever."

Across the country, thousands of Americans are getting pink slips. Just this week Motorola announced plans to eliminate as many as 4,000 workers. Organizers at a job fair in Biloxi say an economic slowdown has made some businesses that usually participate shy away from the event

"We did have some booth sponsors that are typically at our job fairs that decided to wait until our summer job fair to participate simply because of layoffs in this market," event organizer Joanna O'Connor said.

Many of the employers say there is still a high demand for skilled workers of the coast. They say most of the layoffs come from manufacturing jobs whereas, the hospitality industry is the lifeline of the coast. However, employers stress that the coast is not an island that will remain totally unaffected by what goes on nationally.

"When the economy goes down people sometimes don't travel therefore, we wouldn't have that many people coming in here whether its the gulf coast, or south Florida or California," Charles Nannnery, a Casino personnel manager, said.

A perfect example of how the coast economy may be stronger than the rest of the country is Centurytel. This year the company laid off 85 employees in other parts of the country, but here on the coast, company officials say they're looking to hire.

by Danielle Thomas