Hundreds attend south Augusta job fair

Local event featured 15 companies

Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:07 AM
Last updated Friday, March 9, 2012 1:39 AM
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Out of work for more than a year, Shanta Sturgis was one of the more than 700 people who came to Goodwill Job Connection on Peach Orchard Road for a job fair Thursday.

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Hundreds of people showed up for a job fair at the Goodwill Job Connection on Peach Orchard Road.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Hundreds of people showed up for a job fair at the Goodwill Job Connection on Peach Orchard Road.

“So many people are looking, I wanted to be here first thing,” said Sturgis, who lined up two hours before the doors opened.

Sturgis said she has become a regular at job fairs across the area. She has five children ranging in age from 2 to 20.

“I’ve been everywhere, and I’m willing to do basically anything,” she said.

Susan Everitt, the director of communications for Goodwill, said the 15 companies at the fair were looking to fill more than 500 positions. In addition to several smaller companies, Bridgestone Americas had 200 positions to fill and SITEL had 100.

Across the nation, companies are adding to their payrolls. The U.S. private sector added 216,000 jobs last month, according to Wednesday’s ADP National Em­ployment Report, topping economists’ expectations for a gain of 208,000. The ADP report showed small businesses driving the gains in February, with an increase of 108,000 jobs. Medium-sized companies added 88,000 jobs, and larger companies created 20,000 positions.

Allison Bellinger, a human resources assistant for Right at Home home care and assistance services, said the large crowd was an eye-opener for her.

“I’m really realizing how many people are out of work,” she said. “The line has been continuous, all day long.”

Georgia’s unemployment rate is 9.2 percent, higher than the national rate of 8.3 percent.

Bellinger said her company tries to hire 20 workers every month, but she sometimes has trouble finding qualified applicants.

“It’s been difficult getting the right people,” she said. “It seems like things are slowly getting better, though.”

Connie Lowery, a human resources manager for the Fort Gordon/Augusta Ex­change stores, said she gave out more than 300 information sheets about the five positions her company is looking to fill.

“We ran out of fliers within the first hour and had to make more copies,” she said. “Everyone seems really eager to get a job.”

Nationally, slightly more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. But the overall level stayed low enough to suggest the job market is strengthening.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications increased by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000.

The four-week average remained at roughly 355,000. That’s essentially unchanged from last week’s level, which was the lowest in four years.

Applications have fallen 14 percent since October. When applications fall below 375,000, that generally signals hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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AutumnLeaves 03/09/12 - 12:54 am
I don't think they need a job

I don't think they need a job very bad. They're dressed like they're going to go camping or on a picnic: too-tight or too baggy, wrinkled jeans, t-shirts (not even tucked in), low-cut muffin-tops, golf-shirts? Seriously? I hope this was just an unfortunate choice of subjects in the line and not everyone was dressed as if they couldn't care less whether they got a job or not.

Riverman1 03/09/12 - 06:38 am
AutumnLeaves, did you see

AutumnLeaves, did you see photos I didn't see? In the ones I saw the people trying to FIND JOBS looked decent enough. Keep in mind, most of the jobs are low paying and blue collar type positions. These people are out there trying. Did you see the folders they have with their paperwork? They came prepared. Let's support people trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

pearlthesquirrel 03/09/12 - 09:46 am
It looks like the

It looks like the prototypical cattle call for 4 or 5 jobs that might be available. Because I like "the truth," let me lay the smack down for all you people. The following is a true story although I will not name individuals names.

A friend of mine (let's call him Mr. A) was "let go" from a company in Evans after 25+ years of service. As a matter of fact, I spoke to him on the telephone about it around the end of October. Shortly thereafter, two more employees of this same company were let go - one that I knew fairly well (let's call him Mr. B) and one that I really only knew by name (let's call him Mr. C) - and again, both with 25+ years of service. I spoke to my second buddy(Mr. B) about a month ago. I asked him about my first buddy(Mr. A) that was let go around October. He told me that this guy(Mr. A) had got a job at International Paper. I said to him(Mr.B): "How did he do that?" He (Mr.B) told me that Mr.C's wife works out there and he (Mr. A) "gave her a call." So, Mr. A got a job because he knew Mr. C's wife. How do you like that story?
Just like on Dragnet - "the names were changed to protect the innocent." In other words - "it's NOT what you know, it's WHO you know."

AutumnLeaves 03/15/12 - 05:49 pm
Riverman1, if you saw the

Riverman1, if you saw the photo posted online, it is not the same photo I saw in the actual paper. The online photo shows a tighter shot of a few people with proper clothing, at least three dress shirts and one tie on the men. The photo I had available to view at the time of my post was a wider shot, more people in it, and only one seemed to be appropriately dressed, but she was partially obscured by someone in front of her, so I couldn't be sure.

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