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Hall County jobs picture rosy as chamber puts on job fair
Employers benefit from event during tight labor market
Jonathan Leibel gets his job applications in order at the Gainesville Civic Center during last year's Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce job fair. Leibel said he appreciated the variety of businesses available to talk to during the job fair. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Chamber job fair

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Wednesday

Where: Gainesville Civic Center, 830 Green St.

Admission: Free

Lanier Islands job fairs

When: 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, 5-7 p.m. March 28

Where: 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford

More info: 678-304-3100 or

2017 Workforce Development Lunch

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 28

Where: Lanier Charter Career Academy, 2723 Tumbling Creek Road

Admission: $15 per person

State labor numbers show Hall County’s jobless number ticked up a bit in January, but that increase has officials far from worried.

“These are normal seasonal fluctuations for January,” the Georgia Department of Labor said last week.

And the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce says employer booth space at Wednesday’s job fair at the Gainesville Civic Center is sold out — another good sign.

“It comes back to private employers and their growth,” said Tim Evans, the chamber’s vice president of economic development. “And there’s a lot of very diverse growth going on right now.”

Jobs keep increasing in several sectors, including manufacturing and health care.

The list of available jobs posted on the chamber’s website of the companies attending the fair is a long one.

Just one of the companies attending says it is hiring for assembly, welding, forklift, robotic welders, machine operators, material handlers, pick/packers, weavers, loom cleaners and extrusion operators.

Lanier Islands resort in South Hall also is holding job fairs, including ones set for 5-7 p.m. Wednesday and 5-7 p.m. March 28.

The resort says it’s seeking 120 lifeguards, plus servers, concessions, bartenders, stewards, security, cooks, auditors, cashiers, common area attendants and more.

Candidates may apply at or visit the Human Resources Department at the resort between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

But human resources director Sandra Grindy recommends coming to a job fair.

The chamber gives a similar pitch about its fair to prospective workers.

“Employers meet hundreds of job candidates face-to-face during a short period of time,” the chamber website states. “Job seekers spend coveted face-time with hiring managers.”

It’s all good news for a community that — as with the rest of the nation — is less than a decade removed from the Great Recession.

“Unemployment is low, and we think that’s going to be a trend that’ll be with us for a while,” Evans said. “That’s why workforce development is one of our top priorities for existing businesses.”

In addition to the job fair, which is open to the public, a luncheon focused on workforce development is being held March 28 at Lanier Charter Career Academy. Several organizations are involved in that effort, including the chamber and the Gainesville and Hall school systems.

People who attend the event will hear from area employers and a labor attorney, and they’ll get a legislative update “to ensure you know what options you have for your sustainable workforce,” according to the chamber.

Available jobs are a good thing for a community, but they can be a problem — at least a stiff challenge — for some employers.

So, in some sense, job fairs often benefit employers as much the prospective worker.

“It’s a combination of finding the right skills,” Evans said. “It’s a tight labor market already, but there’s also an aging workforce issue.

“With some of our companies, the average age of the (worker) may be in the mid to late 40s. They’re projecting over the next 10-15 years that most of those will retire. There needs to be a focus on bringing in new talent.”

Despite the January dip, the labor department says that over the previous year, 2,900 jobs were added, up from 84,600 in January 2016 — a 3.4 percent growth rate.

“Job growth came in the service industries and the goods-producing sector, which includes manufacturing and construction,” according to report, released last week.

Also, the report noted, the Gainesville area had the lowest area jobless rate among the state’s metro areas at 4.8 percent. The state’s jobless rate in January was 5.5 percent.

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