The first Missoula Jobs Fair since 2009 was held this week, April 25, and offered signs that the economy is turning around.

"We were thrilled with the employer participation," said Saundra Long, Employment Specialist Supervisor with the Missoula Job Service. "We ended up with 100 tables filled with employers who had job openings in the next three to six months or training organizations that could help job seekers get skills if they felt they were lacking. The job seeker turnout was absolutely excellent, the event was packed."

This job fair would have been the 20th annual, but a depressed job market killed the annual nature of the fair after a slow showing during 2009.

"When we quit doing the fair for a while back in 2009, we had about 75 employers that year," Long said. "There weren't a lot of jobs available. And this year with 100 employer tables and training organizations at tables the feeling is much more optimistic. There's a lot more going on. We're kind of on the upswing."

That optimism means there will likely be another job fair next year.

The doors opened early for veterans this year, and according to Long around 200 vets showed up to be among the first to offer their resumes.

Just because the Job Fair is over doesn't mean there aren't still opportunities in Missoula. Long says there are 501 jobs being advertised through her office, right now.

Jenny Long