DERRY — Employment seekers packed a state job fair downtown yesterday, pursuing nearly 600 available positions.
“It is jammed,” New Hampshire Employment Security program specialist Shirley Hall said about halfway through the four-hour fair.
Job hunters left few spaces open in the parking lot at the Marion Gerrish Community Center on West Broadway.
“We have had about 200 people,” Hall said.
About 40 companies came to Derry to recruit for more than 585 jobs.
“There are a lot of jobs out there,” said Pamela Szacik, director of the state’s Employment Services Bureau.
Szacik estimated 15 percent of attendees would find work through a job fair.
“That’s not as good as we’d like, but we’ll take it,” she said.
Yesterday’s fair came less than a week after a report predicted New Hampshire would finally see employment reach pre-recession levels next spring.
Recruiters liked what they saw.
“People seem prepared, they have their resumes and they are eager to work,” said Sara Boots, a human resources specialist with MAS Home Care of New Hampshire.
The company provides home-based health care services for the elderly and chronically ill. Boots said they are always looking for help.
“We’re growing,” she said. “Home care is a growing industry because of the Baby Boomer generation.”
People who could not make the job fair in Derry can apply for positions through the company website, she said.
FedEx human resources generalist Dianne Esposito said the company was filling seasonal jobs paying $10.82 an hour in Londonderry and Manchester.
“I’ve had some really good conversations,” she said. “Hopefully, people will come and sign up with us.”
Advance Auto Parts was ramping up employment for new stores coming online in New Hampshire.
“We have one opening in Laconia next week and three more cities in New Hampshire,” said Carla Privitera, general manager with the company’s Exeter store.