Jobs Outlook Has Some Positives

Despite the high unemployment rates in Mississippi, officials at the WIN Job Center in Meridian say there is hiring being done. And they expect the local jobless rate to drop in the near future.

"'We do expect it to decrease, because we do have some things to look forward to, such as Handy Hardware," said Shirley Gaines.

Handy Hardware is projected to bring 65 jobs to the area by November.

"They're going to be focusing more on your warehouse labor type jobs, your forklift operators, your manufacturing job seekers, warehouse management, shipping and receiving," Gaines said.

Right now, employment officials say many of the jobs that are available in this area are in customer service, the medical field, manufacturing or they require very good computer skills.

Although there is not a major move to hire within any industry right now, Gaines says there is also not a major move for layoffs.

To help businesses hire more people, she says federal stimulus money is being offered through a program called STEPS with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

"We have money that will pay a job seeker's salary for 100% for the first two months of the hire," said Gaines. "Then, the third month of hire, it goes to 75% that will be paid. And then for the fourth month, 50% and for the fifth month, 25% and for the 6th month 25%."

Gaines says funds are also available to help people get the training needed to land a job.

For more information on these or initiatives offered throughout the Meridian WIN Job Center call (601) 483-1406.

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