Those looking for jobs and employers looking for workers could both benefit from an upcoming event.
On Tuesday, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the Georgia Department of Labor, WorkSource Georgia and Lanier Technical College to host the 2018 Community Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Tech.
Ahead of the event, Robert Long, vice president of economic development at the chamber, and Mark Butler, commissioner of the Department of Labor, sat down with Forsyth County News to talk about the event and what can be expected.
The biggest change this year from years past, particularly during the economic downturn, is the state’s low unemployment levels.
“It’s a tight labor market right now, and it’s good for the worker,” Butler said. “It’s tough if you’re looking for workers, but if you’re the worker and you have skill sets and you can show up and get the job done, you can do well right now.”
Long said to stay competitive some employers are adding benefits such as increased wages, increased vacation time and reimbursing tuition.
“Of course, right now for us with the lower unemployment, we’re typically not looking for people who are necessarily unemployed, you’re looking for people who are underemployed and looking for better jobs, better wages, better benefits,” he said.
The fair will include jobs in manufacturing, warehouses, medical, restaurants, sales, hotels and several others, including those hiring for the holidays.
“What we do with all those folks on the seasonal hiring is they don’t get first dibs on the table. We’re trying to focus on folks who are looking for permanent full-time jobs first, but if we have some tables as we get closer to the event, we’ll open some tables up for seasonal hiring as well,” Long said.
The event will also include resume building and other job skills and some employers will be doing same-day interviews.
Butler also detailed EmployGa.com, a website through the Department of Labor featuring job listings, posting jobs and information on communities in the state.
“We were just pulling the jobs for this county,” he said. “They are currently advertised online as of right at 600 active job listings online. You start to get outside [the county], and that labor draw gets to be a lot bigger really quick.”
He said there were more than 700,000 resumes, 25,000 employers and 100,000 job listings currently on the site.
Butler said the state is going through historically low levels of unemployment – Forsyth County’s unemployment rate was 2.6 percent last September, according to the state Department of Labor – and those looking for unemployment claims.
“We had the fewest number of claims filed last month that we’ve seen in a one-month period than we’ve seen since 1974, which is astonishing when you consider the change in the population, the change in the workforce,” he said.
Those low numbers mean those who might have previously been automatically disqualified from jobs, such as felons who have committed certain crimes, are being considered and hired.
“There are a lot of folks who will consider you, whereas a few years ago they might not have,” Long said. “And I think that’s a good thing. People deserve a second shot in life.”