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Are there better times ahead for jobseekers?

Well, as much as Americans would like to think that jobs will magically appear as the economy gains steam, it simply isn’t that easy anymore. But, it also doesn’t mean that jobseekers will wallow in the economic malaise that has hovered over the United States for the past three years.

Everyone knows that a rebound from this economic downturn is going to be measured by a few jobs here and a few jobs there and not in one sweeping hiring frenzy.

Between January 2008 and the June 2009, 8.75 million American jobs were eliminated. So far, about 2.1 million of them have been revived, but many of those positions are forever lost.

The Department of Labor has shown increases in the number of jobs nationwide of 103,000 in September and 95,000 in October. Those gains aren’t enough to turn the tide, but it is a good indication of brighter times ahead.

Jobseekers have to remember that companies have been battered by the economy, too, and will be waiting to add extra jobs only when they are convinced that they are on firm ground. Nobody can forecast when that will be, even though we all wish it to be today.

So what does that mean for today’s unemployed worker?

It means there is no quick fix for the millions of Americans who are out of work. That’s not good news.

But there is refreshing news from the state Employment Development Department. It reports that San Diego County has added 17,000 jobs over the last year and that currently has nearly 9,000 job openings in just 10 job classifications.

The leading profession is for computer software engineers, which has 1,333 openings. There also are 1,129 open spots for registered nurses and 1,059 for web developers.

Those jobs are solid middle-class jobs, not low-end tourism or service industry jobs that usually account for the most openings.

And, the good thing is the trickle effect of jobs. Once people find work, they spend money immediately and that goes into the economy that helps all businesses and encourages them to expand or add other positions.

That’s why holiday retailing is so important. Retailers have struggled along with everyone else, but they sense that people are ready to spend money again and feeling a bit better about the economy. The National Retail Federation estimates that large retailers such as Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, and Nordstrom could add up to 500,000 jobs this holiday season while Target estimates it will ramp up employment by at least 92,000 people.

Those retails jobs are generally short-term and most don’t pay well, but some of those workers will find long-term jobs out of the holiday hiring. Employers will be identifying workers they want to hire when the economy allows them.

A longer term effect of the rebounding economy will be the ability of people to work for themselves. Even though there are considerable needs for services in the community, the number of self-employed people (1.7 million) in California in 2006 dropped by 14.6 percent over the next three years.

Self-employment often requires a capital investment – either to start a business or to finance an attempt to build a flourishing independent career – and that will take time to appear. Just as businesses get more confident and hire workers, it will also encourage individuals to set up their own businesses.

So while there is no cure-all for the unemployed, there are promising signs of opportunity.

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