Business Editor

Jobs: The gift that keeps on giving

dworthington@heraldonline.comDecember 8, 2013 

Janice Giroux and her coworkers have the gift everyone wants this holiday season – jobs.

Giroux is the co-owner of Express Employment Professionals on Cherry Road. For the second straight year her agency is participating in the parent company’s “Pay it forward hiring drive.”

The drive is specifically done to help people through the holidays but Giroux hopes that many of the hires will be more than seasonal employees.

Last year her agency placed 86 employee with 23 companies.

They are on pace to top that mark this year. At the end of last week they had already placed 61 people. The drive started Nov. 1 and ends just before Christmas.

That number doesn’t include 100 people the agency placed in Black Friday jobs. While working on Thanksgiving was controversial, Giroux said those her agency placed were “thankful for the jobs.”

The “Pay it forward” jobs are a double gift. Express Employment is making a $10 donation per hire to the nonprofit agency of Giroux’ choice. For the second straight year her choice is the Children’s Attention Home of Rock Hill. She and her husband also plan to make a matching contribution.

Giroux said the second year of the campaign is harder than the first, in part, because of an improving economy.

York County’s unemployment rate for October was 7.4 percent, slightly lower than the state’s rate of 7.5 percent. In October of 2012 York County’s rate was 10.5 percent.

Nerdwallet, a consumer advocacy web site, recently ranked York County as the sixth-best place in South Carolina for jobs.

Nerdwallet analysts looked at factors such as whether the county’s population growing, especially its work-age population, the cost to live there compared to the median income and the unemployment rate.

According to Nerdwallet, York County had the second-highest median household income and monthy homeowners costs of the 10 areas recommended. Highest on both counts was Beaufort County. A growing work-age – a 5.3 percent increase from 2099 to 2011 – also was a positive factor.

Giroux said the improving economy means that most of those seeking help already are employed. They are seeking to better their situation.

It’s quite a change from last year when some people told her they wouldn’t take a job because it would “mess up their unemployment benefits.”

Still there is uncertainty among businesses. Giroux said some are reluctant to hire more employees because of unknowns surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which mandates health insurance. Yet, the businesses need help, and workers from agencies such as Express are good alternative because Express is the employer of record, offering health care, covering worker’s compensation, even offering its people benefits such as a 401K plan.

Like last year, the employers Giroux works with are seeking people with an employment history and a work ethic. References are helpful.

People looking for jobs can call Express at 803-328-5545 or come by the Cherry Road location. Giroux also is looking for firms seeking help.

But if those strategies don’t draw people in, Giroux always has one more option – have someone wave a sign that simply says “Jobs” to the passing traffic on Cherry Road. That attracts more attention, she said. She did that several times last year.

But with an improving economy Giroux said she has a more refined strategy this year than using a “shotgun” sign approach.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066 • dworthington@heraldlonline.com

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