Lexington job climate strong

By Fink Densford

A recent report ranked Lexington’s job market as the strongest in the nation for this quarter.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey showed that 28 percent of the local companies they surveyed plan to hire this quarter, and only 4 percent have planned layoffs.

The report said that employers were significantly more confident about hiring this quarter than the past quarter, changing from a 4 percent net gain in jobs to 24 percent.

For UK, this means more jobs and opportunities for employers and those seeking jobs.

“We have certainly seen a major uptake in our jobs posted and jobs filled,” Sarah Bowes, assistant employment manager at UK, said.

UK is the largest employer in Fayette County, with more than 10,000 employees, according to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce.

Bowes said that the increase in new prospective employees was also giving hiring managers the ability to select even more qualified applicants.

“It’s exciting because departments are getting the people they need,” Bowes said, “and we just haven’t seen it start to slow.”

The employment office used the hiring downturn as an opportunity to develop a new hiring enhancement program — a set of tools designed to help hiring managers through the selection process, Bowes said.

Bowes said the tools they developed then are now becoming even more helpful as hiring increases.

“We’re at a point where both the applicants and employers are winning,” Bowes said.

Student hiring is up as well, Chuck Embs,UK Student Employment Program coordinator, said.

The amount of new student jobs posted this March was more than double the amount, from 27 to 58, than from the year before, Embs said.

More students are showing up to fill the jobs as well, Embs said.

“Last year, in March, we had 187 students come in. This year, we had 224,”  Embs said.

Embs said that the student employment department was actively seeking out new opportunities and had developed a Facebook page to inform students when there are new job openings.

“When a new job goes up, it gets posted to fans of the Facebook page as well as the online employment center,” Embs said.

Embs also speaks around campus to UK 101 students and prospective students during the summer to help inform them about employment opportunities around campus.

Bowes said that the hiring outlook for UK looks bright, with a new pavilion opening in mid-May at the hospital and two new floors that will need staffing.

Fayette County also holds the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 8.6 percent, while the state rate is 12 percent, according to a report from the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.