OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Less than one full week into the new year and already three companies with ties to the metro have announced hundreds of layoffs.
"We obviously read the headlines and see what's happening,” said Nicholas Cover, a job expert with Robert Half Accountemps.
Those layoffs are leaving at least 200 people from Premier Surfaces and 325 from Hallmark without jobs locally. Russell Stover’s parent company, Lindt, announced 300 layoffs, less than 10 of which will affect employees in Kansas City.
"With some of the layoffs comes some really positive things for Kansas City,” ” Cover said. “Frankly, it's a great time in Kansas City to be looking for a job.”
The more than 500 people spread across the metro likely are not as positive about the situation coming off the heels of being let go, but Cover said the situation is not as bad as one might think.
"I think there are some industries being hit, we're seeing that and some certain skill sets, but overall the unemployment rate nationally is 3.5 percent, here in Kansas City it's 2.7," Cover said.
Regardless of the layoffs, Cover said that while there can be an impact in certain skill sets, Kansas City is a large enough city and market that there will not be pools of people.
"I think that financial services has taken a little bit of a hit,” Cover said. “Frankly, in Kansas City, that's where there's some big issues, but we're seeing an uptick in some other companies that are moving to Kansas City for those reasons.”
Take for instance 23-year-old Joanna Ramon, whose last position in finance was outsourced overseas three-months ago and still is seeking employment.
"Our whole department actually got laid off,” Ramon said, “and, so yeah, right after college it was a shock, but it was a learning experience.”
Cover recommended first thinking beyond the compensation when looking for a new job.
"Culture, time off [and] work from home opportunities are huge,” Cover said, “and so I really think people need to step back and look at that.”
More important than compensation, Ramon said, is being prepared. Knowing the company and the job you’re applying for, what they’re looking for and if you’re able to really complete those tasks.
Cover said to be urgent when it comes to receiving feedback and getting back to future employers with interest and then having a resume ready with updated skills.