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Job seekers trying to 'persevere'
Fairs attendees are hopeful, despite a weak economy
Tony Burkhalter, a self-employed paint contractor, fills out an application during a job fair held at the Georgia Mountains Center Wednesday. Burkhalter is looking for a job because he says cheap labor has placed a hold on his business. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

A not-so-rosy job market didn’t deter the crowd from coming to search for potential employment Wednesday at the 2008 Job Fair.

More than 600 people attended the job fair held at the Georgia Mountains Center and hosted by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Labor. Some 21 companies in fields ranging from industrial and manufacturing to administrative and professional featured exhibit booths. The companies accepted resumes, handed out information, scheduled interviews and talked to potential employees during the event.

Lee Pims, who recently moved to Gainesville from Atlanta, sat at one of several tables provided to fill out job applications.

Currently unemployed, Pims said he hoped to get a job in a field in which he has experience — welding or assembly.

"A guy at the unemployment office told me you could get hired on the spot here," Pims said. "It’s a great place to interact one-on-one with all the companies."

As a shrinking job market reflects increasing economic troubles, some people are seeking different employment situations to trim costs and commutes.

Human resources generalist Jessica Stiff of TRW Automotive in Gainesville said, " A lot of people want jobs closer to home. They don’t want to travel 40 minutes to get to work."

She said the Oakwood plant was looking to hire for such positions as manufacturing, technician and operator.

The troubled economic outlook did not deter Gloria Hasty of Gainesville from attending the job fair.

The job market is bad, she said, but "you have to persevere."

A second job fair is planned for later in the year, but a date has not been set.