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 NEW YORK, Dec. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Will finding new employment be easier for job seekers in 1994? The answer is a surprising yes, according to nearly 50 percent of the callers who participated in a pre-new year's national job search call in conducted by the international consulting firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
 Responses to a survey reported Friday that was conducted in connection with the call-in showed 49 percent of the callers felt it would be easier to find employment in 1994 compared to 34 percent who said it would be harder and 17 percent who felt it would remain unchanged.
 "It appears the unemployed are becoming increasingly positive regarding job hunting, regardless of the significant number of layoffs that have occurred in recent months. An analysis of caller comments showed several people who credit the Clinton Administration and the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement for restoring hope in finding new jobs," said James E. Challenger, president of the firm (708-446-0904).
 "This is the first time in the eight year history of our national call-in that we have received such a positive response from people regarding their attitude toward finding employment in the coming year," added Challenger. "It confirms what our own quarterly research on job search times also indicates."
 "This new attitude toward finding work ties-in with recent reports regarding the dramatic upswing in consumer confidence nationwide. One national survey cites that consumer confidence is currently the highest in nearly two years."
 Challenger said despite the high degree of corporate reengineering that is going on, most of the callers told us they feel employment opportunities will increase in the coming year.
 When asked if they would be willing to relocate for new employment, 52.4 percent of the job seekers surveyed said they would move to a new city if employment opportunities became available. This figure is up from the average of 30-35 percent of people who actually are presently relocating according to the Challenger Index of job market trends. Callers unwilling to relocate totaled 42.4 percent and 5.2 percent said they would only relocate as a last resort.
 "Historically, most Americans are very reluctant to relocate. Leaving comfortable family and social circles and moving children into new school systems can make the decision to move a difficult one for many job seekers," said Challenger.
 "Expanded employment opportunities exist for job seekers who are willing to relocate to new towns. In larger markets, people are often able to earn higher salaries and find a wider variety of employment opportunities because of the increased number of businesses operating in major markets."
 During the Challenger, Gray & Christmas two-day call in, 22.1 percent of the callers reported they have been unemployed from between one to five years. Those unemployed between one to three months totaled 21.5 percent and 19.5 percent of the callers said they were currently employed.
 "One of the main frustrations expressed by people who have been out of work for several months is that they feel no jobs are out there for them. This conclusion is not actually the case though. January is traditionally the best time of the year to find work. Hiring is 15 percent higher in January than any other month of the year," said Challenger.
 "There are currently more than 1.1 million people who the government consider discouraged workers. These are people who have given up hope on finding employment and stopped looking. Our message to unemployed people is the worst thing they can do is turn their back on the job market. The sooner they start looking for work, the sooner they will find it," added Challenger.
 The answers callers gave to the survey question, "What is your biggest obstacle to finding employment" varied greatly. A lack of experience was cited by 22.2 percent of the callers, 15.9 percent felt their age and/or sex was the biggest obstacle and 10 percent felt location was the problem.
 Regarding callers who cited lack of experience, Challenger said one of the issues stressed by Challenger counselors during the call-in was how people could translate the skills they have into new positions.
 "Everyone has talents, but some people feel they lack the proper skills or training to find new employment. One of the biggest obstacles for job seekers is failing to realize how the skills they do have can be applied to different positions. Realizing your strengths and determining how these skills can be translated is key to reentering the workforce," said Challenger.
 This was the eighth year that Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., has made its professional job search services available free of charge to the general public. On every other business day of the year, the outplacement firm counsels only discharged persons who have been sent by a former employer.
 Layoffs by employers are tracked by the Challenger Employment Report. The report on December layoffs will be released on January 6. It will show that 1993 announced layoffs exceeded 600,000.
 -0- 12/31/93
 /CONTACT: Herbert H. Rozoff, 708-432-4047, or Michael J. Marker, 312-975-3545, both of Ruder Finn/

CO: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ST: IN: SU: ECO

LG-MP -- NY009 -- 8296 12/31/93 11:19 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 31, 1993

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