2012 Job Growth Expected In Southern Illinois


By Stephanie Tyrpak

WSIL-TV -- Some mixed news when it comes to the economy. The Labor Department says 15-thousand more people applied for unemployment benefits last week - that's after three weeks of decline.

But even with the increase applications remained at a level *consistent* with modest hiring. And the broader picture over the past month shows job growth could pick up in 2012. It's a picture that's also being seen in Southern Illinois. The four-week average of unemployment claims fell to a three-and-a-half-year low of 375-thousand. That's an indication that hiring could pick up. Many retailers ramped up hiring for the holiday season.

Stores like Kohl's, Toys R Us, J.C. Penney and Best Buy are just a few of the retailers in southern Illinois who took on extra workers to get through the busy times. But now that the holidays are over many of those workers are back on the market.

"I mean every 90 days, we're rotating people over to their payroll," said Missy Payne with the temp agency "Extra Help" in Marion. She says there are plenty of jobs in Southern Illinois. Those jobs include; accounting, computer programmer, sales, mechanics, and welders. “We've noticed a lot of machine type positions that are coming available. Maybe it's the coal industry," Payne said.

Payne says although they're a temp agency--the long-term goal is a permanent position. "We really want to look for positions for our clients and for our applicants that are long term permanent positions so they go from a temporary basis, usually about 90 days, and then they go directly onto that company’s payroll."

Brad Young, co-owner of Yahama of Southern Illinois, says doing his hiring through a temp agency helps with the screening process. The agency helps in interviews, job skills testing, and background checks.

"We hire employees on a temporary,probationary basis through extra help,” Young said. “And if they work out on the job that we've trained them for, then we hire them permanently." Young has been using Extra Help to find employees for the past seven years.

His shop is expanding - and the company is currently in the process of hiring for a position. "At least three or four of our current employees have come through Extra Help, we have a total of 11 employees here at the shop," Young said.

One of those employees - Matthew Williams - moved back to Southern Illinois after finishing school. "I filled out my information there, and then it was about 2 weeks. You know, I did my interview with them and then I came here and was interviewed.

Williams started at the company as a skilled temporary employee three years ago - before becoming full-time after six months. "I love it here. I really enjoy what I do." In the past six to eight months Extra Help has seen more companies looking for skilled workers -- skilled jobs are coming with higher paychecks.

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