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Posted: 6:20 p.m. Thursday, March 7, 2013
By Scott Wickersham
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
MetLife, Convergys, Rack Room Shoes, Areva and Otto Environmental -- that's 3,200 new jobs in a few weeks in Charlotte, part of a similar nationwide trend. ADP Payroll Service said the economy created 198,000 jobs in February. Unemployment fell to the lowest point in five years. Those working are now spending again on things like homes. At a realtors conference in Uptown, home builders said new starts in January 2012 are up 32 percent from 2011. Those builders are looking to hire creating more jobs. It's part of a healthy economic cycle economist John Connaughton hasn't seen in years. "Housing prices rising, new starts rising in second half. You see maybe there is some real light at the end of the tunnel," Connaughton said. Unemployed salesman Fred Allen is seeing the light. "I sent out some resumes and I have an offer I'm going to take a look at now," Allen said. However, at a job fair at Central Piedmont Community College, it's clear not everyone is seeing a bright future. Hundreds lined up just to get in, battling for the same position. "(I'm) fighting, trying to get a job, and it doesn't make it any easier," said Michael Benoit of Charlotte. Alison Epting agreed. "(I'm) trying to find a job. Looking for anything at this point," she said. The official labor department numbers out Friday will really tell the story. Economists believe the country added 152,000 jobs last month, but based on the ADP report, some speculate that number will be higher.
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