HAZLE TOWNSHIP — Hundreds of people looking for work turned out Thursday for a career fair near Hazleton. That’s despite state figures which show the jobless rate is dropping.
Dozens of people stood in line waiting for the doors to open. The career fair is sponsored by the state and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber official Lee Ann Fallabel said she’s not surprised.
“It seems there is the same amount of jobs but apparently there is more people looking for jobs.”
One employer, American Eagle Outfitters, had a line of people looking for jobs. That’s because the company, which sells clothing, is building a warehouse near Hazleton and they will need hundreds of workers.
John Blashock of Ringtown knows what it’s like to be unemployed for a long time.
“I am not collecting or nothing, my unemployment has run out. The only one working is my wife and she brings home $230 a week home. It’s very hard,” Blashock said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry lists the jobless rate in Pennsylvania at 6.2 percent and the national rate at 6.7 percent.
Blashock said those figures are hard to believe.
“They say the economy is getting good. Nothing is getting good around here.”
Joe Bjorn of McAdoo explained he’s looking for a full-time position.
“I have one kid, she’s 3 years old and she’s my heart and soul. She pushes me for everything and I am looking for something full-time through the company instead of temp agencies, short term jobs. It’s very hard to find that.”
Chamber officials say they’ll hold another job fair around the same time next year but they hope there are fewer folks here meaning more people will have jobs.