CHICAGO (CBS) – A Burlington Coat Factory store had its grand opening in the Loop Friday amid reports of improving unemployment numbers.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker visited and spoke with some of the new employees.

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Randolph Harris is back to work after being laid off for several months and forced to return to return home to his mother.

“It kind of hurt my pride to have to go back home and not have money and take care of me,  because she raised me to be independent. So now that I have a job it’s really good to stand on my two feet again,” Harris said.

Vonetta Simpson had to go on welfare to help feed her six children when she lost her job in January. She’s grateful for the work.

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“I can sleep at night. I honestly can sleep at night,” she says. “I can feed my kids and I can have my utilities on all the time.”

Simpson and Harris are among the more than 200 people just hired at the new store on State Street. These are the faces of the newly employed. The men and women are contributing to the positive national jobs report.

Economist Francisco Torralba says it’s a contrast to images from other countries.

“Considering the very challenging international scenario, we’re not doing that bad,” Torralba says.

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About half of the jobs at Burlington are seasonal.

Dorothy Tucker