A job fair offering 500 positions opened Tuesday in an area of Washington that s struggling the most.

State Farm insurance is looking to fill the positions as quickly as possible as it expands customer service operations in Tacoma.

The unemployment rate in Pierce County is 8.4%, considerably higher than the state average of 6.8% and nearly double that of neighboring King County, which is only 4.3%.

Job fair organizers are expecting at least 1,500 applicants for the 500 positions.

There are a lot of people here and there are going to be more people here tomorrow, so they re going to have their pick, said jobseeker Claire Teague. So I hope I do well.

Tacoma took a big hit in 2009 when the city s then-largest employer moved operations to Seattle. Now State Farm is taking over their former space.

Positions will pay between $27,000-$31,000 and they hope to fill many soon. The call centers will open in the late fall.

The job fair continues Wednesday from 8 am-3pm at Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma.

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