Sunday, June 21, 2009

1,000 show up for entry level positions in Newberg

From the Oregonian:

Oregon's high unemployment rate was on full display in Newberg Thursday and Friday as nearly 1,000 people showed up to apply for service-related jobs at an upscale hotel and spa.

The job fair to fill about 160 positions at The Allison Inn & Spa continues today at Joan Austin Elementary School in Newberg.

That kind of turnout underscores the dismal prospects for the unemployed, said Josh Harwood, a senior state economist. "At some point, any job becomes a good job."

For the third straight month, Oregon's jobless rate of 12.4 percent ranked second nationally, trailing only Michigan.

Job fair organizers said they expected a strong turnout, but were floored by the 600 applications submitted Thursday. At one point, those at the end of a very long line faced a three-hour wait to be interviewed for jobs at the front desk, restaurant, bar, spa and maintenance and engineering department.

"People just kept steadily coming in," said Sonja Haugen, general manager for Springbrook Properties, the Inn's developer. "Every two or three minutes, we'd get someone new."

The 85-room Inn is scheduled to open Sept. 23 on land owned by the Austin family, which also owns and operates A-dec Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of dental chairs and equipment.

Haugen said she didn't know how many of the 100 A-dec employees laid off in February due to a business downturn might end up being hired to work at The Allison. "We're looking for people with appropriate qualifications for each position," she said. "If they have qualifications for a particular job, they will be considered along with everyone else."

While most of the people applying for jobs at the Inn seemed to come from around Yamhill County, a number also reported living in Washington, Multnomah and Marion counties, Haugen said.

If the job fair was held in Portland it would have drawn over 2,000 applicants. This is why I favor Gov. Kulongoski's plan to offer low level, low wage temporary jobs. There is a tremendous over supply of people qualified to be gas attendants and front desk clerks who will not be able to find jobs right now and who choose not to go back to school. The plan basically allows the state to get some labor in exchange for the weekly unemployment check.