1000+ people attend job fair in Burlington Co., N.J.
BURLINGTON TWP., N.J. - September 21, 2012 (WPVI) -- Well over a thousand people descended on the Burlington Center Mall Friday morning, but these folks were shopping for jobs.
"I can do office work, I can work at the register, shelf life, whatever," said Josephine Bihlear of Edgewater Park, N.J. "I just want to work."
Burlington County's annual job fair amounts to a one-stop shopping experience that matches up employers and those looking for work.
"When you do a search on the internet, when you do a search for a job, it's kind of limited. So when you come here you see places you wouldn't normally see," said Zanette Grier of Magnolia, N.J.
"I would say so far we've had over 1500 job seekers come through the door in the first hour, so it's a little overwhelming," said job fair organizer Darlene Scocca.
Scraping by on odd jobs, George Hammons of Mount Holly, N.J. has years of building maintenance experience. Like everyone, he is looking for a regular paycheck.
"Make enough money to make ends meet, but I do need a full time job and I'm the hardest working man in America," said Hammons.
Over 80 employers were here scouting applicants. Mercer County-based Allies, Inc., which provides direct care to people with disabilities, has over 150 job openings.
"We provide a week of training and ongoing training," said Allies representative Pauline Bailo. "We're just looking for people who have that heart and that care and want to make a difference in people's lives."
While thousands all over the state continue to look for work, the latest unemployment numbers for New Jersey are not good. The Labor Department says the jobless rate here ticked up to 9.9%, the highest in 35 years.
"I was shocked," said Cynthia Walters of Willingboro, N.J., "because I didn't know we had such a high unemployment rate in New Jersey."
The Christie administration is disputing the numbers, which are well above the national jobless rate of 8.1%.
Some of the people here have been out of work for two years or longer. One Pemberton man who's eager to find work says attitude is important.
"You cannot give up," said Mark Walker. "You have to stay in there and fight and go out there and pound the pavement and get a job. And it will happen."
new jersey, unemployment, burlington county, local/state, nora muchanic
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