Local News

1,200 turn out for Manpower-sponsored Raleigh job fair

Posted February 4, 2009 12:10 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT

— Manpower in Raleigh held a career fair Wednesday afternoon to fill newly announced job openings, and nearly 1,200 people showed up to apply for 370 mortgage-industry positions.

The jobs the staffing firm had to fill included loan document specialists, underwriters, customer service representatives and management positions.

The number of North Carolina workers who want a job but can't find one remains at an all-time high, with nearly 400,000 of the state's residents out of work, according to statistics released late last month.

The crowd was so large at the Manpower career fair Wednesday that police officers were called to direct traffic at the 1122 Oberlin Road facility.

“I’m trying to secure myself. That's why I'm here,” job-seeker Jimesha Kent said.

Kent is still employed, but a few months ago her boss got laid off. She was his assistant and said it could be just a matter of time before she gets a pink slip.

Manpower at first had expected "in the neighborhood of 300 (people), what an average job fair would bring out,” said Cindy Chunn, Manpower spokeswoman.

Manpower officials said estimates are that about 50 percent of the Triangle mortgage market went belly up when the housing bubble burst and foreclosures soared. With mortgage rates now at an all-time low, however, a refinance boom has emerged, creating jobs.

"In light of present market conditions, Manpower is thrilled to have this opportunity to assist in building the local job market," said Michael Doyle, vice president-general manager of Manpower-Southeast.

With Manpower's job fair requirements strictly for people with mortgage and finance experience, some people got turned away Wednesday.

“I was in recruiting, so I know how it goes. A client needs somebody with a certain background. I understand how it goes,” said Ian Armstrong, who has been unemployed for about three months.

Homeowners looking to cut their monthly expenses by refinancing their mortgages should meet two primary conditions: they must have good credit and the home must be worth more than what is owed on it, said Mike Pearce, a mortgage banker with 22 years of experience.