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Despite Layoffs In Triangle, Companies Continue To Hire New Employees

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RALEIGH — No one wants to mention the word, "recession," but layoffs are already becoming a part of the local vocabulary. Many people, specifically those in the technical field, will find jobs easily. However, for those who have been laid off, the experience is unsettling.

Melinda Pfeiffer has worked for four separate start-up companies. She was laid off one month ago.

"It's been tough, but it sort of goes with the territory," she says.

Even in the Triangle, as workers in technical and other types of jobs are being laid off, companies continue to hire. According to Alfred Segars of UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School, the reason is due to a process called "churn."

"A company cycles out employees whose skills are no longer aligned with new markets and new products, and cycling in people who are aligned with new products and new services," he says.

CareerCowboyis Bud Howard's new workhome after he was laid off. The online career network helps those looking for a new start.

"For me, I looked at it as a fresh start. I had an opportunity to seek something more in line with where I felt the technology and the market was going to go," he says.

Career Web sites can help job seekers, but knowing the area and market is key.

"Networking, per se, is the single, most important way. About two-thirds of the people will find their jobs, and it's a full-time job doing that," says Howard McCain of Right Management Consultants.

Segars agrees saying there will be more layoffs, but things will improve in the Triangle by late Spring.

"There is, in general, a real need for people, innovative, good-thinking types of people in the Triangle and really throughout the southeast," he says.

Melinda Pfeiffer finally received a job offer on Friday. CareerCowboy holds RoundUps, networking social sessions where entrepreneurs and job seekers meet.

Despite uneasiness, the Triangle's unemployment rate is still one of the lowest in the country. It is also one of the steadiest.

The December unemployment rate was 1.6 percent down from the month before, despite several major layoffs. July's unemployment rate was even higher. The most recent figures are even lower than a year ago, when the economy was seen as strong.