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Sign of times: Sonic Drive-In flooded with applicants

Unemployed people continue to flood Charlotte-area job fairs. Today in the University Area, hundreds are lined up to meet with barely a dozen companies looking for sales people and entry-level workers. In just one hour, Sonic Drive-In franchise owner Coleman Bradley had already collected a stack of applicants for jobs paying between seven and ten dollars at his 11 local fast food restaurants. "It's unfortunate," says Bradley, noting the crowded room of people eager for work. "Obviously a lot of people are out of work, so you're seeing a very diverse background. But you're seeing a lot of people that want to work and want to try new careers and that's what we're looking for." The Charlotte area unemployment rate is nearly nine percent, which is one of the highest among metropolitan areas with more than a million people. There are still jobs available in Charlotte, but the competition is stiff and companies like Sonic have a glut of willing workers to choose from. Some economists predict Charlotte's unemployment rate will rise to 12 or 13 percent in the coming year.