DALTON, GA. (WDEF) --Of all the communities in the tri-state region, none was hurt more than Dalton in the continuing recession.
The Carpet Capital of the World watched its unemployment rate soar past 14 percent in 2011, one of the highest in the nation.
Carpet and flooring companies are staging a comeback this summer.
Carpet industry pioneer Bob Shaw retired several years ago, but returned in 2009, at the height of the recession, to build a new company called Engineered Floors.
Two new plants are up and running...and another is on the drawing board.
Now, Engineered Floors is using job fairs like this one in Dalton, to go after more workers.
ZACH ADAMSON, H.R. MANAGER, ENGINEERED FLOORS "We're very enthusiastic about the number of applicants that have come through here and the folks that I personally talked to are really passionate about our community are really excited about maybe getting a first chance..maybe a second chance."
The company is planning to spend more than 400 million dollars to create a total of 2000 jobs over the next 5 years.
That news couldn't come at a better time for workers like Robert Jones.
ROBERT JONES, LOOKING FOR WORK "I've been out of employment since late 2011."
BARBARA STANLEY, FORMER CARPET WORKER "Well, in this community, we've had a lot of people who've been in and out of jobs ..And that's basically why I'm down here..and this place usually has a lot to offer."
LISA ADKISSON, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR "I think people are seeing a turnaround and that the jobs are out there ...and are beginning to come in..and that's the part about it we love."
SEN. CHARLIE BETHEL, (R) DALTON "We are still working from the floor up....its a long climb but we dom see positive signs both in our base industry..the floor covering industry, but beyond that there are some other good signals around here and we want to continue to move in a positive direction."
ZACK ADAMSON, H.R. DIR., ENGINEERED FLOORS "We're growing and we're really, really encouraged by the amount of skilled people in this applicant pool in Dalton."
The Dalton office of the Georgia Department of Labor processed more than 500 applications today for the Engineered Floors jobs.