Approximately 1,800 job seekers came out looking for opportunities at a job fair held at Augusta State Universitys athletic center on Thursday.
Sixty employers including T-Mobile, Michelin, Conklin, Shaw Industries, Sitel and FPL Food LLC were present to discuss available positions, said Greg Criste, the chairman of the Greater Augusta Employer Committee.
Weve been blown away by the turnout today, employers and applicants. Most of them are hiring, and weve got one or two who are expecting to hire in the next month or so, Mr. Criste said. We even had some government agencies from South Carolina.
Some employers had long lines of job applicants, such as Shaw Industries, FPL Food LLC. This morning, a line of 150 to 200 job seekers were waiting for the doors to open. There were 1,000 people in the first hour, Mr. Criste said.
According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the unadjusted unemployment rate in the metro Augusta area rose to 9.3 percent in May, up 1 percent from 8.3 percent in April. The states seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 percent in May, the highest ever recorded in Georgia, according to a release.
Al Jackson, 59, was laid off in February and was seeking a job in the health care field. Previously, he worked in thanatology, which focuses on death and dying education. Being an older job seeker has been challenging, he said. He found job opportunities at East Central Regional Hospital to be interesting.
Its very well represented. The appeal for the job fair is for everybody. Im so glad theyre here, Mr. Jackson said.
Vida Stapleton, 49, recently moved to Augusta from Virginia Beach, Va., to be closer to her family. She previously worked in social services and was seeking opportunities in teaching or administrative positions. She has been unemployed for three months.
The job fair was great. I actually made a lot of contacts, Ms. Stapleton said.