Local online job ads topped 4,000 in March for the first time since August 2008 with a steady climb in postings across many industries, another sign the economy is slowly bouncing back from its recessionary doldrums.
The difference is that more people are looking for work in 2011 with 2.8 unemployed people per job opening compared with 1.8 in 2008, though filling positions still can be difficult because of a gap in skills, those in hiring professions say. Statewide, there are 4.5 unemployed people per online job ad.
“We’re seeing a steady increase (of new jobs) month after month,” said Kim Tesch-Vaught, vice president of workforce for FloridaWorks, the regional workforce board for Alachua and Bradford counties.
Instead of employers posting one job every couple of months, they are listing two or three jobs at a time, she said.
The agency works with employers to list jobs through the state’s website, employflorida.com.
The Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation that oversees regional workforce boards reported 4,009 online job ads for Alachua and Bradford counties in March. That is 92 more jobs than February’s listings and 540 more than in March 2010. Since bottoming out in January 2009, listings were up by 1,626 openings.
The numbers come from The Conference Board, which collects job ads from 1,200 Internet job boards and newspaper online ads but not directly from corporate websites. It does not necessarily reflect all local job openings. For example, the report lists the University of Florida as having 45 job ads in March, but UF’s own online job listings showed 269 jobs posted that month.
The area’s largest employer typically lists 200 to 300 jobs per month, said Melissa Curry, UF director of recruitment and staffing.
“We’ve certainly seen some improvement since 2008,” she said of the year UF had layoffs. “Is it significant? I don’t think so.”
Health-care fields have the most listings, with registered nurses leading the way with 224 online job ads in March, followed by occupational therapists with 139. Of the top 15 fields, five are health care-related.
Tesch-Vaught said the steady growth in health-care listings has accelerated since the first of the year.
The report showed more than 70 listings through Veterans Affairs.
The VA currently is hiring nursing assistants, medical support assistants, patient services assistants, medical technicians, food service workers and housekeeping jobs, said spokeswoman Heather Frebe of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.
The VA has not added jobs this year, so the listings are to fill positions people have left. That will change when the VA Medical Center opens its new bed tower in the fall, with 215 new jobs that will include everything from housekeeping to RNs, nursing assistants, pharmacy technicians and other jobs, she said.
In addition to health fields, Tesch-Vaught said FloridaWorks is seeing a lot of new jobs for insurance sales agents and managers, telemarketers, software engineers and web developers; cashiers, retail sales and sales reps; real estate sales and brokers; and restaurant openings.
With fewer new jobs but still growing are pharmacy technicians, mental health counselors, maintenance, and education positions such as teachers assistants and post-secondary teachers.
Retail sales posted 111 jobs in March, behind only truck drivers at 122 for jobs outside of health-care fields.
One of those was posted by the Cartridge World franchise store.
Owner David DiEugenio said the business has been gradually adding positions as it got busier since opening in July 2010, with four part-time employees in addition to himself.
The jobs start at minimum wage and include the option of doing outside sales for commissions of as much as 20 percent for bringing business customers, he said.
The ad drew about 12 applications.
“A lot of them we’re getting have been out of work for a long time, and they’re going from well-paying or better-paying jobs in 2008 and they’re willing to do whatever it takes just to get something at this point in time,” DiEugenio said.
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Last Modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.