Downturn hasn’t caused influx of people using employment services

Layoffs, downsizing and a hurting economy have dominated headlines since the price of oil dropped significantly.

Layoffs, downsizing and a hurting economy have dominated headlines since the price of oil dropped significantly.

Local employment service companies had anticipated some increased activity in the fallout. But the expected increase of people seeking their services this fall didn’t happen, said Aaron Sheppard, managing director of Career Assistance Network in Red Deer.

“Last year around January to April we started to see the layoffs and got the sense things were going to be bad,” said Sheppard. “It’s usually six months to a year when we see the huge influx. We thought we’d have a November influx, but there wasn’t a huge amount of people coming in.

“It’s not that I think people aren’t unemployed, it’s that I think they’re holding on for dear life on their Employment Insurance and only accessing services at the very last moment.”

Unemployment at this time last year in Red Deer was 4.5 per cent, a recent release from Statistics Canada said the current unemployment is 6.2 per cent. Though the tight labour market no longer exists, they city’s unemployment rate is still below the national average at 7.1 per cent.

With EI claims running out, Sheppard said he sees hopelessness and pessimism about the job market when people do come through the doors.

“They’re hopeless in that they don’t see a lot of options to go to,” said Sheppard.

The current labour market in Alberta does mean more competition for jobs and allows employers to be more selective in who they hire.

The Career Assistance Network in Red Deer is one of a few that offers career and employment services to people and organizations.

Sheppard said they have many workshops for career planning, resume writing, interview skill building, a job finding club and even demographic specific — single parents, mature workers or youth — workshops all for free.

Resume one-on-one consultation is also offered, drawing from a resource of about 25,000 resumes on file.

For more information on the Career Assistance Network call 403-341-7811 or visit www.rdcan.ca.

Employement Placement and Support Services also offers employment and training services aimed at assisting unemployed and underemployed people. They can be reached at 403-343-6249 or visit www.epssreddeer.com.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

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