By Greg Gelpi
Freedom and the open road brought Danny Harbin to Jonesboro Thursday.
Harbin and others applied for jobs with Waggoners Trucking Company at the Georgia Department of Labor's Clayton County Career Center.
The recruiting drive was an effort by the Department of Labor to fill more than 300 job openings for truck drivers to haul cars.
"Just an interest in working for these folks," brought Harbin, 47, to apply for a trucking job.
"I'm not the office type," Harbin said. "I enjoy being out, meeting people and the open road and freedom. I like traveling too."
After badly hurting his knee, Harbin was out of work for about 20 months, he said. Although truck driving requires some lifting and climbing, he said that the profession wouldn't be too rough on his knee.
Working for Waggoners, a Columbus-based company would put him near property he owns as well.
Driving from Montgomery, Ala., Arthur Worthy, 48, saw an ad in the local newspaper and headed to the recruiting center.
"I just like driving trucks," he said. "It's a job where you don't have to stay in one place."
Worthy, a truck driver since 1991, said there are plenty of jobs in the truck driving business, but finding a good one is tough.
The Department of Labor announced Thursday that the unemployment rate for metro Atlanta dropped to 3.8 percent for March with the addition of 7,100 jobs. The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in February.
The unemployment rate for metro Atlanta dropped as well, but remains higher than the state rate of 3.6 percent. It had been 3.8 percent in February. Statewide 14,300 jobs were created last month.
"We're glad to see the unemployment rate remain below the 4 percent mark, and, for the first time in quite awhile, we saw some new jobs created," State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said. "We're hopeful that these newly created jobs are a precursor of things to come. However, the pace of job creation remains slow, at less than one-half of 1 percent over the last 12 months. A slow job market is vulnerable to negative economic forces that might arise and stall the recovery."
The commissioner said that the unemployment figures could be deceptive.
"An additional concern is that we have many long-term unemployed workers who have exhausted their unemployment insurance without finding replacement jobs, while others have become discouraged and dropped out of the job market altogether," Thurmond said. "Real improvement for these workers can only come with significant job creation."
Applicants for Waggoners had to be 23 years old, have a valid class A/type 1 certified driver's license and have at least two years or 200,000 miles of experience driving tractor-trailer trucks.
Georgia Department of Labor career centers provide job seekers and employers with information and resource services, modern technology and a customer-focused, state-of-the-art business environment.
For more information on the Department of Labor, visit its web site at www.dol.state.ga.us.