With the nation having recently celebrated Labor Day 2012 some are cautiously optimistic as America struggles to recover economically. Kathy Mitchell, The Champion’s managing editor, asked Leonardo McClarty, president & CEO of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, for his thoughts on how DeKalb County appears to be faring.
Does the job market in DeKalb County appear to be improving?
I would say that the market is still rather volatile. There was a decrease in the unemployment rate between March and May but we have seen a slight uptick the last couple of months. Many businesses are still uncertain about the economy with concerns around health care, taxes and the national debt. A presidential election tends to slow things down and some firms wait until after November to reinvest and expand as they want an idea of what the national economic agenda will look like
What industries are creating most of the new jobs right now?
Allied health organization such as nursing, personal care, home aids. Other growing or at least stable industries are telecommunications, network systems, software and application engineers. Some social and human service related positions are also becoming available.
Are most of the new jobs being created in small businesses or larger ones?
Most of the new jobs are being created by small businesses. Small firms have always been the life blood of the economy and the same holds true today.
What skills are employers looking for right now?
Soft skills – the ability to interact with co-workers and the general public, technology savvy, critical thinking, communications, verbal and written. Dependability – employers want people who will show up daily and on time.
What resources does DeKalb County have that make it a good place to start a business?
DeKalb County and the Atlanta region have a host of resources for small businesses. You have the DeKalb Chamber of Comerce, the Small Business Development Center, the county office of economic development, several micro-enterprise programs, and the DeKalb Enterprise Business Corporation. Also many churches are encouraging entrepreneurship and are partnering with various business groups.
How is DeKalb County positioned in terms of doing business worldwide?
DeKalb County is positioned nicely to compete globally and we have a robust workforce, an educated workforce, good infrastructure, access to the ports and an international airport to name a few.
What advice would you give to someone looking for work in DeKalb County?
Utilize their network. Word of mouth is key in today’s world of job seeking.
Read. Check local publications to see who is opening and expanding.
Learn how to use social media, especially sites such as Linked-In.
Prepare in advance. Have your resume prepared and ready to send. Utilize professionals to review your cover letters and resumes in advance to ensure that it conveys the message you you want to send.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of locating a business in DeKalb County?
Utilize the various tools and resources afforded to you such as the chamber and county economic development department.