Central Virginia sees drop in unemployment as three-day job fair kicks off

After peaking with 9,600 claims last May, the region is now around 1,600 people

The job fair is happening in Lynchburg.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Like so many others, Alexandria Johnson is struggling during the pandemic.

“My situation has been rough, and I’m not ashamed to say that it’s been rough because there’s nothing that I’ve done to make it rough. It’s something that the world has going on,” said Johnson.

The 30-year-old mother of three is now looking for a better opportunity thanks to a job fair in Lynchburg.

“It’s making me feel good because a lot of these places here, they’re not opening the doors for us, they’re not letting us come in, they’re not letting us work,” said Johnson.

Concentrix is looking to hire 80 to 100 customer service agents for a call center.

The Virginia Career Works Lynchburg Center is hosting the three-day job fair.

“We haven’t seen a company come to us with this many jobs that they’re needing to fill at one time [since the pandemic began],” said Tim Saunders, business engagement and outreach coordinator for Virginia Career Works Lynchburg Center.

The center tracks local labor information.

“Last May was when unemployment really, kind of, peaked for us. We had around 9,600 people applying for unemployed at that time, and that’s roughly 10 percent of our normal labor force,” said Saunders.

But now they’re seeing a drop in those filing for unemployment.

“It’s come down significantly from where we were last May. We now have around 1,600 people filing unemployment claims on a weekly basis,” said Saunders.

Those landing a job with Concentrix will earn $12.50 starting out and $13 after 90 days.

Johnson hopes to be one of them.

“This right here will be a good step,” said Johnson.

The job fair continues on April 7 and 8. You can go to 3125 Odds Fellows Road in Lynchburg from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.