Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Although there have been some surefire, positive signs of the economy rebounding, some experts believe it will take a while to translate into real jobs.
Pima Community College held a graduation Wednesday night for 13 students who completed the Law Enforcement Academy. They’re entering the workforce at a good time, just when the Pima County Sheriff’s Department is seeking 40 new recruits to enter its academy next January. However, the process to become a deputy is long and arduous.
“All start with a multiple choice written test. After that, there is a fitness assessment. Then the process from there includes a background check and psychological evaluation,” said Deputy Tom Peine. He said those requirements are added to the prerequisites of being 21 years old, having a high school diploma, not having an felonies and being a U.S. Citizen.
State figures show the number of government jobs in Tucson is the same as May of last year, but the city has also added 3,000 private sector jobs. That includes call centers, like the LivingSocial one opening up in July, which will put 180 people to work.
“Tucson has been a great market for us since we launched here in 2010. We really look for people employed at LivingSocial who use this service and are evangelists for the service and be great talent for the call center,” said Brandon Lewis, the Director of Corporate Communications.
Meanwhile, members of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce are taking the pulse of the business community, to see which employers may potentially leave. President and CEO Michael Varney told 9 On Your Side: The economy is slowly growing, but many business owners aren’t hiring just yet.
“Employers are being very cautious about adding to their payrolls, which adds to their overhead. So we continue the do-more-with-less kind of operating. But the good news is people are putting more revenue on to the bottom line,” Varney said.
Varney point out a chicken and egg situation, in which Tucson needs employers to retain the talented graduates from the University of Arizona, but those entering the workforce also need a reason to stay local. And figuring out how to solve that problem – requires certainty.
“There’s a very high level of uncertainty out there – uncertainty about government intrusion, with regulation regarding healthcare, with the EPA and all that it’s doing right now. A lot of companies are just standing pad until the regulatory environment settles down,” Varney said.
While the job situation may be slowly getting better, a recent change in the federal law means thousands of Arizonans without jobs will be losing their unemployment benefits. People who have used up 79 week so benefits will not get anything after that because the state’s unemployment rate isn’t low enough to receive additional federal dollars.