NEW YORK (WCBS 880 / AP) – The December unemployment numbers may have been positive, but people in the Tri-State Area still need jobs.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

More than 3,000 applicants turned up for a job fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick Thursday, where the university’s director of career services, Richard White, says they had the best employer turnout in months.

“It makes me very optimistic that we’ve turned the corner and we are headed in the right direction,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Marla Diamond.

However, unskilled workers are still struggling.

“One out of three low-income New Yorkers told us that someone in their household had either their wages or hours go down, lost their job, or both,” said Nancy Rankin, who is with the Community Services Society of New York, which advocates for the working poor.

Many of the unemployed in the five boroughs have been looking for work for a year or more.

After six months in a row in which at least 100,000 jobs were added, some economists are starting to see some lasting improvement.

The national jobless rate is down to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in almost three years, after the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.

President Barack Obama says there’s been “real progress,” and that it’s “not the time to stop.” He says despite the improvement, some people are still struggling.

He’s calling on Congress to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut that is due to expire at the end of next month.

It will take 6 million more jobs to get the United States back to what it had in December 2007, when the recession began. Economists forecast the nation will add almost 2 million this year.

Do you think the country and economy are headed in the right direction or wrong direction? Sound off in the comments section below!

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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