Job fair shows huge economic turnaround in Caldwell County, officials say

CALDWELL COUNTY, NC (WBTV ) - Just a few years ago, the economic situation in Caldwell County was spiraling into deep trouble. As the Great Recession hit, unemployment rose to over 17 percent, factories were closing and prospects for new jobs were slim.

In 2010, officials held their first Caldwell Is Hiring job fair.

"We were begging companies to come," said Economic Development Executive Director Deborah Murray.

About two dozen companies participated, but with few jobs in hand although thousands showed up hoping to find work leaving some disappointed. As the years went on, things started to get better. New companies moved in and the ones that survived the economic turmoil started hiring again and even expanding.

Today the unemployment rate is down to 4.2 percent and is among the top tier of the best in North Carolina. Now the issue is not whether there are enough jobs.

"We now have more jobs than there are people locally to fill them," said Murray.

It's why there was another Caldwell is Hiring job fair Monday, as much for the companies as for job seekers. More than 50 companies with 2300 openings came.

Officials say most companies are expanding their training programs to help people get the skills needed for the jobs of today and also encouraging people from across the region to consider traveling to Caldwell County to work.

More than 9,700 people already do that every day, said Murray. Officials hope they can keep the trend of good economic news going.

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