In 2010, the Tampa Bay Times profiled 46 out-of-work people in the bay area in its "Help Wanted" series. With Friday's Labor Department report showing unemployment steadily falling and job creation picking up, we revisited some of those job seekers to see whether they've seen a boost in hiring.
Previous job: IT manager
Current status: After 14 months unemployed, he's now working in IT, installing point-of-sale upgrades.
"I'm making about half of what I used to make. There's not very much else to do to make up the difference. … I'd like to get back into IT management, but right now (opportunities) are still very limited because business has been hindered. It's still stalled like it was two years ago. A lot of companies are not making investments."
Previous job: senior project manager
Current status: She was hired as a contractor at Lender Processing Services in May 2010 and was made permanent six months later.
"The pay is less than what I was making, but I'm working with really great people and doing stuff I love. … I think things are getting better. In the last three weeks, I've gotten phone calls from eight different recruiters. … But I'm torn about (whether) what I personally see in my industry is different (from the broader economy). I was in a Target, and a cashier there said that he had worked for some company 26 years as a shipping clerk and was laid off, and it took him 16 months to find another job: as a temp at Christmas. When you hear stories like that, I just don't know.''
51, St. Petersburg
Previous job: administrative assistant
Current status: She is working off and on through area temp agencies, her longest stint being a nine-month assignment.
"I still haven't found anything permanent, and it's been over three years since I was initially laid off. There's no guarantee for now, as I'm in a 10-week assignment. … Before the economy went under, I could make $18 (an hour), no problem; now you're lucky to be making $12 an hour working temp. Prayer and the help of family and friends is the only way I've managed. … In the long run, things are slowly picking up, but I think employers are still walking on eggshells (about hiring)."