Hundreds of people showed up for a job fair in Lenoir Thursday morning hoping to find work.
The area has one of the highest unemployment rates -- above 12 percent -- in the state.
There seemed to be no end to the line at the Broyhill Civic Center, but most of the people there were not surprised by the huge turnout.
"I’m not really (surprised) because everyone in Caldwell County needs a job," said Jennifer Hollifield, who was looking for a job.
Marie Peeler described what it's been like looking for work.
"Seems like every application I turn in is just not panned out," Peeler said.
When word got out that as many as 700 people could get a job Thursday, the parking lot quickly filled up. People began parking along Highway 321. Some even walked more than a half mile to get to the civic center.
Inside, 25 companies were hiring.
Caldwell County is known for furniture manufacturing, but recently some new companies have moved into the area, including Niyato Industries. The company hopes to hire 125 workers by this summer to convert standard Ford vehicles to all-electric.
"This was amazing. We were not expecting this. We were told to be prepared for a thousand people. We've seen well over that," said Chris Petrella, the company’s spokesman.
By lunchtime, organizers estimated more than 2,000 people attended the job fair.
Marcus Brown began selling himself before he even got to the front door, letting anyone who would listen know exactly what he was willing to do.
"If you need some painting work, handyman service or maintenance or heavy equipment operator give me a call," he said.
Cleveland County commissioners approved the first steps needed to process a $200,000 grant for a local fabrication business.
The Community Development Block Grant is one of the first of its kind in the country. If approved, the county will loan Maco Inc. the money to help expand its business operations.
The money will lead to 10 new jobs and allow the company to buy new equipment.
Any sign of a jobs boost is a welcome sight as the nation’s hiring pop is starting to slow down, according to numbers released Thursday.
The number of people filing for unemployment benefits last week fell by 2,000 applications. However, the previous week’s numbers were revised, showing an increase of 8,000 applicants.
The rise pushed April’s average to a three-month high at nearly 375,000 jobless claims.