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A look at Montana's job market as the state enters Phase One

Posted at 6:07 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 10:56:49-04

BILLINGS - March and April have been painful for Montana residents who were working at businesses deemed non-essential. But all signs show most of them want to go right back to where they came from.

“Most of them are just waiting for this to pass, and then they’re happy to go back to whatever job they had in the past, they’re really not out looking for new jobs at this point,” said John Rife, Business Services Consultant at Job Service Billings.

But for some of them, it will be a matter of will they have a job to go back to.

“For one, we just don’t know when this is all going to be over, and so, businesses, if they open tomorrow, they’ll go right back, but if it’s not until July, then will that business even be there, and will people have moved on to new opportunities?” Rife said.

What also remains to be seen is the impact on the tourism industry and its jobs.

“I think some people are not going to find it easy to find a job for a while because tourism will be down, because potentially, retail, other things like that, that in the past, were a ready source of jobs, just might not have many jobs to offer for a while. We have to wait and see how quickly this thing picks back up again,” Rife said.

And now that the world knows the difference between essential and non-essential jobs, it doesn’t necessarily mean job seekers will flock to those positions. It all depends on personal preference.

“We’re busier than we’ve ever been right now, answering calls and trying to help people with their employment claims, and trying to get them through this. And some people say wow, you’re doing a wonderful job, but others say I wouldn’t trade places with you for the world, so I think some people really like to be that essential and busy, but for other people, it’s not really their cup of tea,” Rife said.

But one step a job seeker should take, regardless of the job, is clean up your resume and social media accounts, before putting your name out there.

“Whatever you need to do, in order to be prepared, so that when this thing breaks, you’re ready to come out of the gate fully prepared,” Rife said.

Job Service Billings can be reached at (406) 652-3080 for resume and job assistance.