The government's jobs report provided one more sign of a healing economy, Long Island workers and employers said Friday, but both groups remain uncertain about a bona fide turnaround.
Anita Bowra, 48, president and owner of Gentry Manufacturing Corp., a Ronkonkoma manufacturer of machine parts, said she's managed to survive, but it's been tough. "I would love to tell you that it's going to get better, but I just don't know because this economy has had no rhyme or reason," she said.
Unemployed Long Islanders are equally unsettled and say finding a job is the one thing that will brighten their economic outlook. Overall, both groups were conflicted about what the jobs report indicated for the future.
Andrew Lalonde, 64, director of recruiting
"When we see the local retail stores opening up again instead of being boarded up, that would be an excellent sign that we're recovering," said Lalonde, director of administration and recruiting at ABC Employment Agency in Bellmore.
Leslie Jackson, 62, Freeport, employed
"We've been to the bottom. We have nowhere to go but up," said Jackson, a child support investigator for Nassau County.
Teresa Nankervis, 44, Center Moriches, unemployed
"Everybody's answer's been 'We've been swamped with responses. We can't get back to everyone,' said Nankervis who was laid off from her bookkeeping job in November. She said she won't say the economy's rosier until she gets a job.
Christopher Tong, 55, Commack, financial adviser
Long waiting times at area restaurants gives him confidence the economy is recovering.
"We actually went to a third place and only waited about 10 minutes," said Tong, who was told the wait at two other restaurants was at least 45 minutes. "I said how come everybody's telling me the economy's bad and I went to two restaurants, three restaurants and everyone has a wait?"
Kaitlyn Callahan, 23, and Anne Nicholson, 23, Oyster Bay, waitresses
The roommates graduated with honors last May and are working at Cheeburger Cheeburger in Farmingdale while looking for public relations jobs. Not getting jobs in their chosen careers because the economy sank is "unlucky timing," Nicholson said. "It's very frustrating," she added. But, at least, Callahan said, "We're making money. There are people lots worse off."
- Compiled by Keiko Morris and Ellen Yan