President's economy: good news on job numbers, bad for inexperienced workers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The economy brings President Barack Obama to Kansas City this week.

On Tuesday night, the president will dine with four area people who wrote him letters about economic challenges and, on Wednesday, President Obama will focus on the state of the economy in front of a public crowd at the Uptown Theater.

RELATED: Complete coverage of President Obama's visit to Kansas City         

He is expected to tout the economy's steady improvement, and there was proof of the economic improvement at Overland Park's job fair on Tuesday.

Darrel Bowlin, regional vice president of Job News USA, has run the job fair for eight years.

He said there were as many employers hiring at the event on Tuesday as there were just before the economy tanked in 2007.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 288,000 new jobs were created in June, and the latest unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008.

Job seekers thought there were several opportunities at the job fair on Tuesday.

"It's a lot better than it was two years ago,” RJ Brackson said.

Bowlin said employers recently can't hire people fast enough.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate remains disproportionately high among minorities and young people. And there are more long term unemployed since before the president took office.

"A lot of black men feel like it’s gotten worse," said African-American job seeker, Arlan Hoggatt. The college grad said he has been looking for a job for more than a year.

Job fair organizers said they noticed fewer entry levels positions and more white collar, mid-level jobs offered. Organizers said businesses still notice many newcomers lack an appropriate job skill set, and a lax work ethic keeps many from maintaining jobs; two things they said could keep the unemployment rate higher than it should be.

But employers have a new problem that is good news: they can't fill the jobs as fast as employers are adding them. They said the hiring opportunities at the event are back to 2007 rates.

Welcome news for a job seeker with a new nine week old baby. "I know I'm going to land something for my 9-month-old baby," LJ Brackson said with a smile, "I'm going to do whatever it takes for this guy."

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