Jobless claims are at the lowest levels in five years. Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the second week in a row.
Experts said it could mean the job market is improving. Channel 9 found a Huntersville business hoping to add hundreds to its staff this spring.
Metrolina Greenhouses held a job fair Thursday. It holds one around the same time each year.
Thursday, safety manager Kerry Krivanek said the crowd was much different.
"The turnout today has exceeded our expectations. It’s 9:30 a.m., and we've already had 300 people applying for jobs, so there must be a lot of people out there looking for jobs," he said.
It was a record turnout from job seekers on the same day the Labor Department revealed claims for weekly unemployment benefits dropped to 330,000, the lowest level since January 2008. Some economists attribute the drop to distorted data caused by layoffs after the holiday shopping season. Others said it's an indicator that the job market is improving.
People at Thursday's job fair said it doesn't seem like it.
"Jobs are hard to find,” job seeker Betty McGhee said.
Krivanek said Metrolina is looking for up to 350 seasonal greenhouse workers to help out this spring. He said last year, 85 people ended up staying on full-time. He said the company is expanding and will need more labor in the future.
As jobless claims and the unemployment rate continue to dip, Kelly Nance hopes to see the statistics turn into substance in the form of a new job.
"I'm very surprised it's taking me this long to find a job, and it's really hard because I have three little girls to take care of," she said.
Amid the recession, the weekly jobless claims surged to above 600,000. When jobless claims fall below 375,000, it suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.