As Western New York settles into the winter doldrums, job numbers in this part of the state are following the trend. The State Labor Department released its monthly jobs report Thursday, with disappointing numbers for Rochester and Buffalo. But observers still see signs of life in the economy.
Marketing yourself. For a job-seeker, it's the most important thing to do.
"It took at least three or four months, before I actually got a phone call," said Jay Patel.
When Patel graduated from RIT, he found out the job market is no cakewalk with just a finance degree.
"When I was looking for internship work, it was actually tough," he said. "Before you try and go into the actual working field, all employers are looking for is experience."
Rochester Business Alliance spokesman Dan Smith analyzed Thursday's job numbers released by the state.
In Rochester, 2,200 private sector jobs were lost. In Buffalo and Niagara Falls, another 2,300.
"Especially in the Rochester and Buffalo regions, what we're seeing are the larger manufacturing jobs still being shed. But what's happening though, is our smaller companies are picking up those jobs, just not at the same pace," Smith said.
Smith says the Federal Reserve is predicting a three-percent surge in the economy in 2013, driven by small business growth. Until that happens, job seekers must learn to more effectively market themselves.
"Going from manufacturing to a smaller business, we're seeing a lot more high-tech. That takes more skill. There's a skill deficit out there, and as people leave jobs and become re-trained, they gain the skills they need. Then those smaller companies can pick them up."
The Rochester Business Alliance and similar organizations offer real-world connections, as well as training and staffing services, to match businesses to job-seekers.
For Jay Patel, his first phone call finally came. It has led to full time employment in the field of finance.
But he learned a valuable lesson:
"Be open-minded with the job market. You might not like the first job that you have, but if you don't try, you'll never know what might be out there for you."
That next job, could be just your next handshake away.