Applicant Pool Swells at Job Fairs

By Napsha, Joe | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 25, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Applicant Pool Swells at Job Fairs


Napsha, Joe, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Dennis W. Marchetti thought his general manager position at a waste-hauling company would take him into retirement. But when new ownership installed its own management team last year, he lost his job.

"I'm not bitter. I understand that's business," said Marchetti, 61, of Scott, who has a business degree from Robert Morris University. He started as a management-trainee picking up refuse 39 years ago and rose through the ranks at various companies to a top job in the business.

On Tuesday, Marchetti joined 1,500 other job-seekers from the region who were looking -- and hoping -- to get a lead on a new job at the 2009 Pittsburgh Diversity Employment and Career Education Expo at Mellon Arena, Uptown.

Marchetti said he has no choice but to join the sea of job- seekers because "my 401(k) went to hell in a handbasket."

He and thousands of others in the Pittsburgh region have been thrown out of work because of a recession that has resulted in work- force reductions and restructurings.

"The problem is I am 61 and not ready to retire. You think you are ready to retire at age 62 ... but that's life," Marchetti said.

Organizers of regional job fairs have reported attendance has increased greatly this year compared to 2008, even doubling in some instances.

When the economy was in the early stages of its downward slide in October, only about 800 people attended a similar job fair, said Peter Denio, general manager of Employment Guide of Bridgeville, which organized yesterday's event.

It seemed to attract more older workers than the fair in October, said Denio, who projected that between 200 and 400 people might land jobs at the fair, which attracted 45 employers and educational institutions.

But those looking for a job now have more competition than in October. The number of jobless workers increased from 60,800 in October to 89,100 in January, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.

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Applicant Pool Swells at Job Fairs
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