Using Labor Day vacation time to look for labor

Using Labor Day vacation time to look for labor

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Kurt and Robin Bassett fell in love with Wilmington when they visited in February during their son's college tour.

They loved it so much they decided to sell their home in Connecticut, move to the Port City and build a brand new home.

"(Temperatures were) in the 70s and we were in shorts and T-shirts and back in Connecticut, it was 6 degrees, so we were loving life," Robin said.

Robin found a job working for Verizon as a business development partner. She moved into an apartment in Wilmington while their home is being built.

Kurt is having a tougher time finding a job, and he's not alone.

According to the New Hanover County Workforce Center, about 3.8 percent of the county's population is unemployed or looking for work. That's slightly less than the state and national averages of about 4 percent.

"The first weeks and months, you knew it was going to be slow and it was kind of groundwork finding out the companies that are down there, getting to know the lay of the land," Kurt said. "Then you get three, four months into it and it gets a little discouraging at times. ... You're like, I just want to get something, meet with somebody and go in and have somebody give you a call and be like, 'I want to talk to you about this.'"

Kurt is living in Connecticut until he finds work in Wilmington.

"Everything nowadays is online, which is helpful because I'm not here all the time, but at the end of the day, you're an electronic version of yourself and to have someone pick through that, it's challenging," Kurt said.

He visits Wilmington periodically for job interviews and to see Robin, and is using this Labor Day vacation to look for labor.

The couple is set to move into their new home in October, and hope they'll be moving in together with a new job lined up for Kurt.

According to the workforce center, New Hanover County's unemployment rate has decreased by almost one percent over the past year.

Brunswick County's rate is 4.9 percent, Columbus is 5.2 and Pender sits at 4.1.

The workforce center on 17th Street in Wilmington offers resources for job seekers and employers, including resume and interview help, referrals to jobs, coordinating job fairs and customized training for businesses. Copiers, fax machines and printers are available free of charge for people on the job hunt.

According to Lois Smith, a workforce center manager, the center serves more than 350 people per week and some weeks as many as 500.

She said NCWorks.gov is North Carolina's official free job search website. There, employers can search for candidates based on their skills and work experience and post jobs, and those looking for work can create resumes and apply for jobs.

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