COVINGTON -- Georgia has seen two consecutive months of job growth, and state labor officials are optimistic that the trend will continue.
In an effort to keep the job-growth momentum going, officials with the state Department of Labor and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce are hosting a Career Expo and Job Fair. The event is scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon Tuesday, April 26, at the Newton campus of DeKalb Technical College, located at 8100 Bob Williams Parkway, Covington.
Shannon Davis, director of business retention and expansion for the Newton Chamber, said the Department of Labor and Chamber joined together for the effort in order to "bridge a need for several of our existing companies, not only from Newton County, but Rockdale and Walton as well."
Davis said it is important to look at filling job vacancies on a regional level, rather than from a one-county perspective.
"We are a region and as such must work together to help industries find qualified applicants and help our friends and neighbors get back to work," Davis said. "Our partners at the Department of Labor have graciously allowed us to pull in some industries that have a real need right now."
Companies participating in the job fair will include SKC, Solo Cup, Clairon Metals, Old Castle Glass, Resource Manufacturing, representing General Mills, Atlantic CDL and Apollo Staffing.
The event will also offer workshops during the Career Expo, including Dressing for Success, How to Become Work Ready Certified and How to Have a Successful Job Search.
"We surveyed approximately two dozen industries before deciding to co-sponsor this Career Expo, and we asked what are some 'gaps' you are seeing in job applicants," Davis said. "These workshops address a few of these gaps."
Newton's jobless rate for February was 12.2 percent, a slight decrease from the previous month. Newton County has a work force of 45,787, with 5,543 unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate was 12.5 percent in January and 12.9 percent a year ago, in February 2010.
Rockdale County's unemployment rate for February was reported at 11.8 percent, down from 12.3 percent in January. Rockdale's labor force is reported at 39,396, with 4,656 unemployed.
The state's February unemployment rate declined one-tenth of a percentage point from January to 10.2 percent.
"Job creation is the most important aspect of an economic recovery, and the slight increase in jobs in February gives me reason for cautious optimism," said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler earlier this month. "Also, I'm encouraged that we continue to see a reduction in the number of new layoffs. However, the growing number of long-term unemployed is troubling."
There were 263,200 long-term unemployed Georgians in February. Long-term unemployed are those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. That's an increase of 37.9 percent from February of last year. The long-term unemployed now account for a record-high 55.1 percent of the 478,104 jobless workers in Georgia, the Labor Department reported.
For more information about the Job Fair and Career Expo, call the state Department of Labor at 770-784-2455.
-- Staff reporter Crystal Tatum contribute to this report.