Hundreds turned out early for a job fair in Philadelphia Thursday.
The Mid-Mississippi Job Fair was held at the Neshoba County Coliseum. During the first 30 minutes of it veterans were allowed to talk one-on-one with potential employers. After that, the floor was opened to everyone else.
By 9:40 AM at least 350 job seekers had registered, and 39 businesses were taking part.
"Right now in today's economy when you can find that many individuals within business that are looking to hire, I'd say that we've done really well," says Adam Todd, who is the director for the Governor's Job Fair Network.
Demand has grown so much that the Governor's Job Fair Network host anywhere from 20 to 25 job fairs each year throughout Mississippi. Organizers say that the fairs are not in vain because many people land jobs.
"Sometimes we have 50, 60, 100, 200, or 400 people who ultimately get jobs; it all depends on the area in terms of how many individuals come through and the hiring needs of those particular businesses at that time. Plus, some employers call people who attend back for another interview."
Meanwhile, with a 5.8% unemployment rate for Neshoba County, the president for the Community Development Partnership in Philadelphia says that the county's jobless rate is down just a bit.
"The surrounding counties vary by anywhere up to a high of 10%," says David Vowell. "So, this job fair is reflecting a cross of all of those counties. We have some existing companies that are doing some hiring; looking at doing some expansion or changing the way that they do their production, and we are also having a lot of growth in retail."
According to unemployment numbers that were released in December, Kemper County has the highest jobless rate in East Mississippi at 10%. The lowest rate was 6.5% in Newton County. Other county rates were:
Lauderdale - 7.5%
Clarke - 8.1%
Jasper - 7.8%
Wayne - 9.4 %
Scott - 5.2%
Smith - 6.9%
Noxubee - 13.2%
Winston - 10.2%