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New employment opportunities for immigrants in US

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There may be more opportunities for immigrants in the US as the economy picks up. Despite the poor performance of the US dollar recent surveys suggest growing confidence in the workforce.

USA Today reports that Employees are feeling more confident about the labor market and their own job security as employment opportunities go up in a number of industries. Mounting research shows employees are cautiously optimistic as salary freezes thaw and companies play tug-of-war over skilled job candidates.

Workers reported high confidence in their job security, with more than 80% predicting little or no chance they could lose their jobs in the coming year, according to a May survey of 1,000 full-time employees by Philadelphia-based Right Management.

The situation has changed compared to six months ago, when nearly a quarter of employees said they might leave their jobs.

"We're seeing a slow, steady (increase) in confidence," says Eileen Javers, a global leader with Right Management. "Right after Katrina, people were worried about jobs and what the economy was doing."

•Pay. Wages are up in many industries. The hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers, which is most of the private sector, grew 3.8% in the past year, the fastest in nearly five years. That follows a period when wages lagged inflation for several years.

•Jobs. With the unemployment rate at a low 4.7% in April, some employers note that hiring is becoming more of a challenge.

"For senior caliber, we have to go outside of Cleveland, but it's hard. A couple of years ago, it would have been easier," says Bob Porter, studio director at Vocon Design, a Cleveland-based design and architecture firm.

•Perks. Signing bonuses, which waned in popularity as the economy faltered, are back in vogue in several industries. Sixty-five percent of employers in 2005-06 are offering signing bonuses for technology-related positions, according to a poll by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

In many industries, hiring is looking up. Construction hiring has been setting a fast pace, and manufacturing added 19,000 jobs in April, with factory employment rising by 50,000 jobs since October.

"What we're seeing is major. Competition is really heating up," says Marlon Doles, senior manager, staffing and diversity, with Campbell Soup in Camden, N.J. "It hasn't been like this in a number of years."

Brian Callaghan, CEO of Apex Systems, a Richmond, Va.-based provider of temporary information technology staffing, says the shift in demand means candidates can be choosier about job assignments.

"Good (candidates) will have several opportunities," Callaghan says.