ATC career fair sees uptick in participation

A participant in Thursday’s Career Fair at Albany Tech speaks with representatives of Central Monitoring.

A participant in Thursday’s Career Fair at Albany Tech speaks with representatives of Central Monitoring.

ALBANY, Ga. — On the same day national jobless numbers pointed to an increase in first-time unemployment claims, organizers at Albany Tech’s Career Fair said they saw an increased number of employers looking for well-trained job applicants.

Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week grew by 4,000 in a sign that economic growth may be slowing.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to see video from the career fair.

In Albany, both job seekers and employers seemed undeterred, as both flocked to ATC in record numbers.

Judy Jimmerson, ATC’s director of Career Services, said that Thursday’s event appeared to be one of the largest yet.

“I really think that today we had more employer participation than we’ve had in the past.” Jimmerson said. “We average about 50 employers and today we saw just a bit more than that. And, as far as jobseekers, we had about 600 register and come through.”

Betty Billings, a human resources representative for Target, said that it was one of the better career fairs that she’s attended, both in terms of participation and the quality of the job seekers.

“We’ve seen between 60 to 80 applicants today, it’s been a great turnout,” Billings said.

Billings said she believes the local colleges and universities are doing a better job preparing their students to enter the workforce, which is improving the pool of applicants.

“I think it’s an indication of quality students coming out of Albany Tech, Darton and Albany State,” Billings said. “They’re doing a fantastic job of training people.”

March, for the first time in seven months, national data indicates a step back in the economy after a brisk start to the year.

“The evidence is mounting that the economy lost momentum in March and that has carried to April,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pa.

Economic data for January and February have suggested growth accelerated in the first quarter after activity almost stalled in the final three months of 2012.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, rose 2,750 to 361,250.

While claims rose last week, they were still at levels economists normally associate with average monthly job gains of more than 150,000. That helped ease concerns of a deterioration in labor market conditions after nonfarm payrolls posted their smallest increase in nine months in March.

Reuters News Service contributed

to this report.