Kroger hiring nearly 1,600 workers in metro Atlanta

Kroger stores Wednesday announced plans to hire 2,000 workers in a three-state region – including nearly 1,600 in metro Atlanta – by the end of the year.

Employees are being added in “a variety of positions,” including clerks and deli help, according to a statement from the Cincinnati-based grocery giant.

Kroger has 28,000 employees in the 185 stores of its Atlanta division, which includes Georgia, South Carolina and eastern Alabama. The company said some of the new hires will be full-time employees and some part-time, but all will be “permanent” hires.

Also Wednesday, Stone Mountain Park announced that it plans to hire nearly 300 seasonal employees to help with its winter events, jobs that will last for three or four months.

Among the jobs being added, park officials said, are merchandisers, lift operators, food service personnel and cleaning crew members.

The hiring news came the day before Georgia officials issue the monthly labor market report, which will detail the unemployment rate and the number of jobs that the economy has added or lost.

More than the usual suspense awaits Thursday’s report, since the state’s jobless rate has been rising since April. In July, it was the second-highest among the states: 7.8 percent. Only Mississippi was higher.

Sometimes more hiring actually leads to an increase in the unemployment rate as jobseekers who had been discouraged by a tough market return to the search. The official unemployment rate only counts people who are seeking work.

Despite the troubling increase in the jobless rate lately, the hiring climate seems healthier, said economist Roger Tutterow, director of the Econometrics Center at Kennesaw State University.

“The economy has been expanding long enough now so that there is a sense that it is for real,” he said. Businesses are starting to look at opportunities for investment.”

Among other recent job announcements:

— Columbus-based TSYS plans to open a 450 job-call center in Henry County.

— Chime Solutions plans to open a 1,120-employee facility in Morrow.