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Seasonal jobs scarce
Competition heating up over summer
Movies 400 3 es
Barrett Myers works concessions Tuesday afternoon at Movies 400. - photo by Emily Saunders
While the national economy appears to be on a slow but steady upswing, the same cannot be said for younger members of the local work force.  

Just ask Jordan Stage.  

“I’ve applied for almost 25 jobs this summer,” the 20-year-old Cumming resident said. “I’ve applied to be a cook at a restaurant, retail positions at stores, I even applied for an opening with a maid service.”  

Stage, a Louisiana State University student who is home for the summer, is not alone.  

As thousands of teenagers and young adults begin their summer vacations, many of them are finding it hard to obtain that part-time summer job that once seemed so easy to get.  

What used to require little more than turning in a couple of applications and going through some simple interviews has become a scramble for spots filling popcorn buckets or flipping burgers.  

“I’ve got piles and piles of applications sitting in my office and I’ve already hired most of my seasonal employees,” said Mike Melloy, human resources manager for Movies 400 on Atlanta Road in Cumming.

Melloy said he’s concerned that if he hired more workers, there wouldn’t be enough hours to support them.

Haley Summerlin was fortunate to dodge the job search. Summerlin, also a student at LSU, picked up where she left off last summer, baby-sitting for local families.

The Forsyth County resident takes care of children nine hours a day, four days a week, while their parents are at work.

What’s more, she’s not satisfied with being the typical, pop-in-a-movie, get-the-kids-to-bed by 9 p.m. babysitter.

“I like to say that I am an experienced nanny, I don’t just baby-sit,” she said, adding that she involves the children in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities.

Despite all the work, Summerlin is thankful she has a job.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May that the national jobless rate increased by 0.2 percentage point to 9.9 percent, up from 8.9 percent in April 2009.

In Georgia, the unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage point to 10.4 percent and pulled in 14,500 more jobs. Since April 2009, however, the job numbers are still down by 94,000 positions.

According to state figures, the jobless rate in the Georgia Mountains region, which includes Forsyth County, declined to 9.2 percent from 9.9 percent in April.

Alston Causey was also fortunate to have a job with a traveling summer camp awaiting him when he came back to Forsyth after classes let out at the University of Georgia.

“After last summer, I knew I wanted to work for them again this year and they were nice enough to have me back, ” the sophomore said.

Stage wishes he would have started looking earlier.

“One reason it’s so hard to find a job is because I started too late, I was behind by a couple of weeks,” he said.

Stage also believes the economy is a big factor.

“Businesses aren’t willing to take risks ... especially if they can cut costs,” he said. “It’s a time where you can’t afford to take a risk.”

For those still making the application rounds, however, Melloy has this advice: “Dress professionally. Take the process of applying and interviewing seriously.”  

Melloy also believes personality plays a big part in any job search.

“Even if you don’t have experience, a good personality in an interview makes up for that,” he said.