Thousands turn out for job fair for Steele Creek outlet mall

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

Loading
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

If you have job openings, they will come.

More than 3,000 people swarmed a job fair in southwest Charlotte where stores in a new mall were looking to fill 900 jobs.

Charlotte Premium Outlets will open at the end of July in the Steel Creek area.

On Friday, 61 of its 100 stores were looking for workers.  So many applicants showed up at the Airport Sheraton that traffic backed up onto Billy Graham Parkway.

Inside they were elbow to elbow.  

"It's kind of dog eat dog,” said Robert Kulbe.

He's been looking for work since being laid off from his job in March of 2013 and was anxious for the opportunity to see so many potential employers in one place.  At the same time, he admitted the size of the crowd lessens his chances.  

"You can see the turnout.  You have a limited number of positions and probably four times as many people applying for them," Kulbe said.

The jobs being offered are also more evidence that the economy is improving and not just in the retail sector.  A new national report released Friday morning showed 288,000 new jobs were created in April.  

Charlotte economist Mark Vitner said those new jobs are being spread across the economy.  

"We saw gains in construction, we saw some rebound in state and local government.  We saw nice gains in manufacturing.  So a lot of the areas of the economy that haven't been doing well for quite some time seem to be picking back up," Vitner said. 

That's providing more opportunity.  Friday's job fair is evidence of that.  

Unemployed workers like Jaqueline Madry said there’s still a lot of competition for the new jobs being created.

"You just have to have faith that someone will give you a call back and you'll get a job because it's really, really hard."

Read past coverage:

Developers break ground on Charlotte outlet mall

Two outlet malls planned for Charlotte, developer says only one will be built

Charlotte Premium Outlets could cost $6 million for taxpayers