Despite slow but steady improvements in the economy, unemployment continues to plague parts of the country, as illustrated by last week's massive turnout of thousands people seeking just 200 jobs at a soon-to-open Target store in Albuquerque, N.M.
As many as 7,000 people applied for the jobs offered by Target during a three-day job fair that began last Thursday, according to local ABC News affiliate KOAT
Each day, the line of applicants snaked around the local Marriot Uptown hotel, where the fair was hosted.
Despite that there was only a 1-in-35 chance of being hired, the applicants interviewed by KOAT were confident.
On Saturday, job applicant Natalie Bryant said her skills, personality, and "great looks" would help her land a job, while Pauly Garcia, standing near her, quipped, "Good luck, 'cause I'm going to blow those people out of the water with my interview."
The two-story, 150,000-square-foot building is New Mexico's 10th Target store and is scheduled to open on March 10.
The long lines and poor chances at landing a job are reminiscent of employment fairs in 2009, immediately following the economic crisis in which thousands flocked to job fairs around the country that were only offering several hundred positions.
An extreme example occurred in Louisville, Ky., when approximately 10,000 people applied for 90 positions at a local General Electric factory where the annual salary was $27,000. It is not clear what the annual salaries were in the recently opened Target in Albuquerque.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate for the state of New Mexico is 6.2 percent, a full 1.6 percentage points lower than the national average of 7.8 percent. However, the jobless figures mask the true number of the unemployed because they don't reflect those who apparently have given up or those not working who aren't actively seeking work.
The U.S. economy is expected to grow at a rate of 2.5 percent in 2013 and 3.5 percent in 2014, Chicago Federal Reserve President Charlie Evans predicts.
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