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Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 12:10pm

Jobseekers Flock to Career Fairs

Updated: 5 years ago.
Jobseekers attend a career expo hosted by the Georgia Department of Labor in Augusta. (Photo by Noel Brown)

Officials with the Georgia Department of Labor say record turnout at two career expos in the state today are encouraging. About 2000 people attended an expo in Dalton, the agency's largest job fair ever in northwest Georgia, and another 500 showed up at the other in Augusta.

The large attendance means people haven't given up hope of finding work, says Michael Thurmond, the labor department's commissioner.

But those high numbers also mean that competition for jobs is tough, something not lost on jobseekers.

"Every time you go to a job fair in this area, you're looking at a thousand people, two thousand people, so it's getting really hard," says Gerald Higgins, who attended the expo in Augusta. Higgins was laid off from a job manufacturing military vehicles.

The Augusta area's unemployment rate held steady at 9.4 percent in September, the last available month for metropolitan area statistics.

The Dalton area in northwest Georgia had the state's highest unemployment rate at 12.4 percent. The region has been largely battered by a slowdown in its once thriving textile industry.

The statewide unemployment rate increased slightly to 10.2 percent, the same as the national rate, officials announced on Wednesday.

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Noel Brown

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