There is a long history of Maritimers headed west in search of work, but today Alberta came east looking for workers.

Thousands of people lined up at an Alberta job fair in Fredericton today with resumes in hand.

“I was surprised when I first got here, but look at the state the province is in right now…the province is obviously super hurting for jobs,” says 22-year-old Chris Bruce about the turnout.  

It seems Nova Scotia residents are also on the hunt for jobs out west. One woman made the four-hour drive from Pictou County.

“You can’t make money out here like you can out there,” she says.

Many parents attended the job fair in support of their children who just graduated from high school or university.

“Alberta has a lot of opportunities right now, so if he finds something, gets some training, I know that’s what people are looking for,” says mother Valerie Gale. “That’s what he is looking for.”

Organizers of the job expo admit they were overwhelmed by the amount of people who showed up, and had to set up an overflow room to get people out of the heat.

“Whey they started lining up here three hours in advance I thought we were onto something here, and by the time we opened the door we had 400 people in line,” says expo organizer Susan Reade. “At last count we had 1,100 people who have gone through.”

Joe Doucette hoped his positive attitude and willingness to work would make him a strong candidate for the number of jobs available.

“There’s no job beneath me and nothing I’m not willing to train up to,” he says.

A dozen companies set up camp at the job fair, including those in the oil and gas, manufacturing, technology, transportation and construction industries.

Job fair hopeful Charity MacDonald left with a good feeling.

“A couple of them were very interested in taking info down and they want to make sure you’re interested in potentially moving out there,” says MacDonald. “That’s the biggest thing they seemed to be looking for.”

Michael Hunn, a social demographer at the University of New Brunswick, wasn’t surprised to hear of the turnout. He says 1,000 people have already left New Brunswick this year alone.

“These things are sensitive to economic fluctuations and business cycles and the like, but demographically, young people follow the path of their predecessors,” says Hunn. “We’re likely to see it move up a bit more before it tails off.”

“I’d suggest there’s a good possibility we’ll be back,” says Reade.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore