Thousands Attend "Good Morning America" Job Fair At Navy Pier

12/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Jerry Gillespie is a carpenter. But the 31-year-old Chicago man has hit wall after wall in an effort to find work.

Unemployed for the last six months, he's been rejected time and time again.

He was one of thousands of Chicago area residents to show up at Navy Pier for a morning job fair orchestrated by ABC's "Good Morning America."

He's also one of the growing number of Illinoisans out of work.

The unemployment rate in Illinois rose to 7.3 percent last month, from 6.9 percent in September and from 5.3 percent a year earlier, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The state's unemployment rate exceeds the nation's 6.5 percent rate, which is a 14-year high.

About 3,000 job-seekers showed up as early at 4:30 a.m., stood in lines for hours to get into the Grand Ballroom and sought any horizontal surface on which to complete applications handed out by 80 vendors.

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