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St. Louis Job Market Slowly Emerging

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- In the midst of a “slowly but surely” improving job market, some are beginning to see a few positive signs to back up the numbers.  They include some groups actually advertising for employees.

That’s the case on Interstate 64/Highway 40, where a billboard for Pi Restaurants screams, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”  The pizza chain is far from alone.

In Pagedale, the YWCA sent out press releases trying to spread the word about a job fair for Head Start employees.  Waiting for an interview there Tuesday afternoon, job seeker Rethel Chappelle said she’s feeling better about her chances of finding work than she did a few months ago.

“I was a little discouraged looking in February and March, and April,” she said, “but there’s been a lot more postings online for teachers and school districts are putting up more information so I’m more optimistic now.”

Here they’ve got nearly twenty positions to fill, and in the high turnover world of childcare, they say they’re always preparing for more.

“You never know when people are gonna be ready to move on,” human resources director Kim Staten said.  “So we like to be able to step up and fill those positions right away.”

A few miles away, at the corner of Jefferson and Chouteau, there is a 96,000-square-foot declaration of optimism about the job market erected by Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36.   Here they will be training apprentices.

Back in 2008, they were bringing in nearly 60 new people every year.  Since then they’ve hired fewer than 30, total.  Finally, they say, they’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

“We’re finally getting to the point we’re putting almost all our apprentices to work and we can start to bring new people in,” Local 36 training supervisor Dan Andrews said.  “The glimmer out there is there seems to be, contractors are actually bidding work, which means eventually, may not be for a year, we’ll be manning those jobs.”

The head of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, James Bullard, made headlines in the financial world earlier this month, forecasting a drop in the national unemployment rate to 7.8% by the end of the year.