MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Job fairs are popping up all across Tennessee. Experts say it's a sign of economic recovery, but there will be thousands of people competing for those jobs and it's just a little too early to start celebrating.
"Any job creation is a good sign and we're desperately in need of job creation," said Dr. John Gnuschke, an economist at the University of Memphis.
The Tennessee unemployment rate is nearly 9-percent, but that may soon change. The new Mitsubishi power plant in Memphis will hold a job fair on Thursday, Feb. 23.
"Our first year of operations we'll be hiring 75 to 100 employees and when we're in full production we'll be close to 300," stated Lisa Terry with Mitsubishi Human Resources. "We're currently looking for production and quality technicians for hourly positions and IT, accounting, engineering, quality assurance, and other administrative operations."
The salaries range anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 a year, and include benefits and paid vacations. The annual pay for hourly jobs with Mitsubishi Electric is low to mid 30's.
Mitsubishi isn't the only company hiring in Memphis; the Great American Steamboat Company is also holding a job fair on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
According to the company's president, Christopher Kyte, they're looking to hire "waiters, chefs, hotel maids, bartenders, everything you need to outfit a boat," he said. "We need about 280. We've already hired 30 people here for the headquarter office."
The Great American Steamboat Company will pay new workers up to $40,000 a year. They also provide medical benefits. Kyte added, "We're hoping to get the friendliest people in Memphis to work on the boat."
The Tennessee Department of Labor is also holding nearly a dozen job fairs this year. Last year, there were none.
"That's a positive sign. We haven't had that in the last few years," said Dr. John Gnuschke, but that we're not out of the woods yet. "We need our small businesses, our retail sector, our service sector to really begin to hire," he said, "We still have a long way to go."
The Great American Steamboat Company will have their job fair on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Cook Convention Center from 7:00am to 7:00pm.
Mitsubishi is looking to hire now because new employees need to be willing to travel back and forth to Japan for training. Their job fair is Thursday, Feb. 23 from noon to 9:00pm at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 1022 S. Shady Grove Road.