By Sana Syed, CBS 11 News

TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – More than two years after the economy bottomed out, there’s no denying the job market is still tough. North Texas unemployment for December 2009 dropped to 7.9-percent from 9.2-percent, but the state numbers have gotten worse and more people are out of work.

Last month, unemployment in the state rose to 8.3 percent.

During these first weeks of 2011, many hoped the New Year would bring new luck in landing a job and for one North Texan, it has.

After one year of desperately searching for work, Michael Bennett has a new job. Michael served in the U.S. Army and when he returned home from Iraq in September of 2009, he found himself without work… that is until three weeks ago. “It’s awesome. Unemployment paid a little bit, but this is a lot better,” he said of his new-found job.

Right now business is booming for Dianna Sellers and her husband. They recently hired eight employees, including Michael. “My husband started this [business] back in 2002,” Sellers explained. “We actually started out of our garage and it’s grown into a business, where it started with the two of us. We now have 41 employees.”

Their company, Sellmark, is based out of Mansfield. “[We sell] just about anything… accessories you would put on a gun or a rifle, we carry those,” she said.

Providing products at stores like Academy and Cabela’s, Sellmark has now expanded to Germany, China and Russia and created more positions for sellers to fill.

Sellers is excited about what the future holds. “I’m very optimistic. We had a great year last year,” she said. “We hope to have a better year this year.”

It’s that optimism that thousands of unemployed North Texans are counting on.

North Texan Larry Bonds lost his job as a hotel manager and is trying to break ground in a new industry. Even with an MBA, the past six months have been tough on the Army and Navy veteran.

“I reinvented myself on my résumé,” he said of part of his job search efforts. “I tried to change the verbiage to reflect a more global position, as far as what I want to do.”

Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County sees the best career opportunities in the retail, service and healthcare industries.

“I think companies are getting more confident in their growth and the impact that’s going to have on their future for next year,” Amber Gosser, the Business Services Director at Workforce Solutions For Tarrant County, said enthusiastically.

According to Gosser, since there is such touch competition, the key to landing a new job is to network, be flexible and remember that no one can sell your skill sets better than you.