Sturdy job market attracts Filipinos to Utah

Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

August 27, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY – The sights and sounds of Salt Lake City are becoming increasingly familiar for Filipinos, and it’s not because of the area’s tourist attractions.

According to recently released numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah’s unemployment is at 4.7 percent – a rate that’s significantly lower than the national mark of 7.4, as well as those of nearby states, such as California (8.5), Nevada (9.5), and Arizona (8.0).

As a result, several Filipinos are leaving their longtime communities to work and make a new home in the Beehive State.

After moving to Utah from Hawaii, Jonald Gonzalez found a job as an infrastructure management analyst at computer software company Novell.

“Anytime users have computer problems, it could be hardware, software, it could be network, it could be phones as well, I take care of that,” he said.

It’s a position that Gonzalez found within three weeks of his arrival.

“It’s really indescribable,” he said. “I mean, I’ve heard of a lot of people struggling, especially fresh graduates from college. It’s really hard for them to find a job, and whenever I tell them that in less than three weeks I got a job, they’re like ‘No kidding, man. That’s impossible.’”

Like Gonzalez, many who were once without work are finding success in Utah, and, in the opinion of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, that shouldn’t stop anytime soon.

Donna Milakovic, the association’s executive vice president, believes the state’s sturdy job market should continue to grow, especially in the technology, manufacturing, and health care industries.

“Light manufacturing, clean manufacturing, industrial — that’s always growing. And then with that, we have a really strong health care system, too, so you’re going to see a lot more opportunities for health care professionals,” she said.

Which is good news for those who are looking for employment in what is still a struggling national economy.

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