Hundreds of job interviews this week in central Alabama

Need a job? At least business in Alabama are hiring. This state is one of only eight that saw its unemployment rate dip again last month. The unemployment rate in Alabama stands at 6.3%, down from 6.5% in June, and down more than one full point from one year ago.

Alabama's biggest job increases came in leisure and hospitality. The construction industry remains stagnant in the state, while manufacturing is up two percent year-to-year. Across the rest of the country, unemployment rose in more than half of the states in July and fewer states added jobs. Some analysts are concerned that the job market may have lost some momentum.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley believes the numbers show his jobs plan,{} "Accelerate Alabama," is working. Over the last two and a half years, the governor has announced more than 40,000 new jobs coming to the state. The Governor's spokesman, Jeremy King, told focus@4, "...we are working to recruit more employers. We're also working to retain the employers we already have and encourage them to expand and hire more people." The governor's promise is to continue the efforts until "everyone who wants a job is able to find one in the state."

This week, more than 250 job opportunities are available in the metro area. Von Maur Department Store, set to open in late fall at Riverchase Galleria, has hired half its staff, but is still looking to hire 90 more employees and several dozen gift wrappers for the holiday season. The list of positions on the store's web site even includes a pianist. If interested, applicants should apply online at the company's web site.

Tuesday, Fresh Market will be hiring for its newest location in the metro area. The new store is scheduled to open this fall in Homewood at Colonial Brookwood. The store will need 80 to 90 employees.

The hiring team will interview candidates from 8 am to 7 pm Tuesday at the Birmingham Marriott on Grandview Parkway. A job applicant must first apply online at the Fresh Market web site. Enter the keyword "178."

Tuesday, in Gadsden, Bojangles will hold a job fair for its new Rainbow City location. Interviews will run from 9 am to 5 pm at the Hampton Inn on Walker Street. The company will hire 70-75 hourly team members, as well as five hourly shift managers and five salaried management positions.

Also, area Fortune 500 companies will be in Birmingham Tuesday to interview recent college graduates still trying to break into a career. Vanguard Management Group will host the interviews for those looking at sales positions in Birmingham and the surrounding area.

Job candidates will meet one-on-one with hiring managers. The event is free for recent college grads. Professional business attire is required for an interview. The interviews will take place Tuesday from 9 am to 2 pm at Embassy Suites on Woodcrest Place in Birmingham.