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Local job market tightens

Perhaps influenced by thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees who fled to metro Atlanta, Gwinnett's September jobless claims increased 70 percent from August and 42 percent from a year ago, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

Also, NCO Financial in Duluth and KMC Telecom in Lawrenceville have cut jobs recently.

It doesn't mean the job market is as tight as it was several years ago, or that hurricanes, gas shortages and higher energy prices have severely weakened the economy.

But it is noteworthy that Gwinnett saw 2,770 claims filed for unemployment insurance in September - the highest total in more than a year.

Marcus on aquarium,

downtown, hurricanes

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who is spending some $200 million to open the Georgia Aquarium in the world in downtown Atlanta, delivered several quips during a speech this week to the Technology Association of Georgia.

Some of the best:

- On the value of the roughly $55 season pass to the aquarium: "When you go to a basketball game or a football game (in Atlanta) - Arthur (Blank) is not going to like me for saying this - you're really overpaying." Marcus and Falcons owner Arthur Blank created Home Depot. Marcus added, the two new whale sharks are the true superstars of the aquarium -"Our Michael Vick."

-On his dismay after a conversation with a Gwinnett resident: Some "people in Gwinnett have never been downtown. ... After the millions I've spent, this guy wanted to know when I'm going to start the aquarium." It opens Nov. 23, by the way.

- On responding to hurricanes: Home Depot is already pulling generators from its stores in Michigan and California and moving them toward the areas threatened by Hurricane Wilma, he said. "We're better than FEMA in that way," Marcus said.

Summit gives Gwinnett

some high-tech exposure

Hosting the Technology Association of Georgia summit was a first for Gwinnett.

It doesn't hurt that the event was held in Gwinnett Center, which forms the heart of a growing hospitality and corporate job center on Sugarloaf Parkway.

It's good exposure for economic development folks trying to attract more high-tech firms to Gwinnett.

Scientific Atlanta

has strong earnings

Scientific Atlanta posted a strong first quarter.

The Lawrenceville company - a forerunner of Gwinnett's well established high-tech sector - said its first-quarter net income increased 9 percent based on strong sales in Europe, Canada and Latin America.