Over-qualified and under-employed

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - More than 7,000,000 people, less than five percent of the workforce, were out of work in December 2007. Today, that number has ballooned to more than 15,400,000 people, or 10 percent. The unemployment rate dropped one fifth of a point this month.

But, East Texas employers are still seeing a steady demand from job seekers, who some might call "over-qualified," or "underemployed." Economists are hoping that a lower unemployment rate means that the job market will soon stabilize.

"Leslie's Pool and Spa is always hiring - not this location particularly - but wherever there's a store," said manager Rebecca Deehring, who added that the increase in job applicants she has seen this year is staggering.

"We get, on average, two or three a week - just people walking in," said Deehring.

And, many of those job seekers, are only seeking part-time work. Just enough hours to hold them over until finding something full-time.

"Many have college degrees," said Bobby Thomas. "I mean, we've had master's degrees, we've had bachelor's degrees and again, we've had professional people from every area."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, against their wishes, more than 9,000,000 Americans are working part-time. Some call the group "underemployed," and "overqualified," working fewer hours until a full-time job in their field opens up.

"The economy has had an effect on a lot of people," said Bobby Smith. "There are a lot of people who are cutting back or not using as many people."

Ivan Smith Furniture manager, Bobby Thomas, says more than 100 East Texans have applied at his store in the past six months, many of them with no retail experience.

"They're people from technical careers, people from the medical field, policemen, firemen, factory workers - just all kinds of applicants," said Thomas.

"I've seen their resumes that are overqualified," said Deehring. "It doesn't say what they earned, but you know, in the job that they had...they had to be earning quite a bit of money."

What is the good news? Both Leslie's and Ivan Smith are hiring. The City of Tyler is also hiring. Right now, there are at least 12 full-time positions open with the city, and a few part-time jobs.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.