Fresno's employment picture may improve

FRESNO, California

Many came knowing full well that the jobs for the Big Fresno Fair were only temporary and in many cases they would get paid minimum wage.

Well the large crowd at the job fair is indicative of just how bleak the job market is right now. But one local expert believes recent actions taken by Fresno city leaders will have a positive impact on Valley jobs moving forward.

More than 7,000 people waited in line for hours Wednesday, all for a chance at landing a temporary job.

Clara Philhart has been looking for work since February and says getting hired for any kind of job is big right now.

"There's a lot of opportunities here. It's not just one place, going to one interview, at a time, you can do it all at once." said Philhart.

Fair managers admitted many of the applicants were overqualified for the positions available.

The latest unemployment numbers show Fresno County is currently at 16%. The numbers are also similar in the surrounding counties. Much of the Central Valley is higher than the state unemployment rate which is at 11.7%.

"There's a lot of people working in a lot of different ways to make this area a better place." said Mike Dozier.

Mike Dozier is with the Regional Jobs Initiative. The group's goal is to create jobs while supporting local businesses. Dozier says in the past the federal and state government only paid attention to the Valley's water problem. That's no longer the case he says in cities like Fresno.

"We're starting to see they're paying attention. Both state and federal, paying attention not only with funding but with assistance and technical assistance has been indicated with the recent Strong cities strong communities initiative." said Dozier.

Positive signs on the job front can be found in the heart of Downtown Fresno. At the Downtown Business Hub, staff with the non-profit coaches small business owners so that they can thrive in the open market. Right now they're working with roughly a dozen local companies.

"Eventually in two years our goal is to graduate them and have them become, be independent. And hopefully create those jobs that are much needed in the Central Valley." said Medina.

The Big Fresno Fair says more than 100 positions were filled Wednesday.

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