Pasco's unemployment rate has surged to more than 13 percent, but two local companies are putting out help wanted signs for the new year.
FreightCenter, a Trinity-based online freight logistics company that employs 60, is adding 75 jobs and tripling its office space.
Market Technologies, a Wesley Chapel-based firm that sells software to help traders analyze trends, is adding several clerical positions to its 40-member staff.
"People are still shipping things, but they're shopping around for better rates," said Sylvia Pankiewicz, FreightCenter's marketing manager.
Unlike many companies, FreightCenter's business model helps it thrive during a downturn.
"We allow you to compare rates from all carriers in one place," she said. "The convenience factor has been what made us flourish."
The company's Web site provides rate comparisons for shipping large, heavy items in a manner similar to how sites such as Priceline and Orbitz compare flight and travel prices. For example, FreightCenter has arranged moves for rock walls and roller-coaster parts for theme parks.
Most of the new jobs will be in sales, though other positions will be created. The company plans a job fair Jan. 9 for on-site interviews, testing and possible offers. The fair is by invitation only, but resumes may be sent beforehand for screening. Pay is between $30,000 and $35,000 and primarily commission-based for sales jobs.
Across the county, Market Technologies is creating several jobs for appointment takers to free up sales people to do presentations. The original plan was to add sales representatives, said vice president Lane Mendelsohn, but an analysis showed it was more efficient and economical to create a few slots for customer service staff.
Those staffers would screen customers who had expressed interest in the company's software to find out what type of product best fits their needs and schedule an appointment with a sales rep.
"These would not be cold calls," Mendelsohn said.
The jobs pay $20,800 a year, about $10 an hour, but they are full-time positions, with 100 percent of a staffer's health insurance premiums covered by the company. Other perks include free weekly breakfasts, some free lunches and trips that include families.
"It's not like coming in at the top, but you'd get to be part of the team," Mendelsohn said. He hopes the new hires are able to start by mid January.
Mendelsohn, who prides himself on making the workplace fun, said last year the company took the staff on a dinner cruise despite the slumping economy.
"We're not a company that says in a recession, let's cut out all the fun; let's cut out all the benefits," he said. "The things that are important we are keeping in place."
Lisa Buie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 909-4604.