Although DeKalb County's unemployment rate remains high at 9.5%, the area economy may get a boost in the coming months as at least three local industries are reportedly planning to add some new jobs.
County Mayor Mike Foster shared the news during an all-committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night. Foster also plans to talk about his industry visits for September with Shiroki, Foutch Industries, and Star Manufacturing during the county commission meeting Monday night.
While the industries themselves have made no formal announcements, Foster told WJLE Friday that he is encouraged by what he has heard in his recent meetings with them. "We met last week with three of our local industries and they were all pretty positive about their situations. I think they're seeing some increases in orders which seems to be a good omen that they will be hiring some people to do this extra work. Some of it is long term, but some of it may not be (long term). I think maybe 150 to 200 new jobs will be created. Some of them will be over a two year period. They (local industries) are currently upgrading some equipment," said Foster.
"We have met with the industries and talked with TVA and Rebecca Smith of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development about some incentives (for industries). The state incentives are pretty well based. If they hire 25 new jobs and if they add about a half a million dollars in equipment, then they can get some training incentives and tax incentives from two or three different sources. We met with them last week and the week before and I have another meeting with them on October 5 to go over some of the details. They (industries) are trying to get some help (with) some of the tax rates on their equipment and some tax incentives on new jobs that are hired. They can get some tax benefits on that, some benefits on their income tax, and taxes on equipment," said Foster.
Some new jobs are apparently already being created according to Foster. "I think its (job creation) is already happening. I talked to a guy in one of the stores the night before last (Wednesday) and he was saying that he had gone to work at Star (Manufacturing) so that's a good indication that they are already hiring. I think they (Star) are going to hire in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 or maybe 28 new employees. I think that will be done right away. They (Star) got some orders from some large national companies and I think that has spurred that (job creation). I think they are actually already hiring. I think at least one of the others (industries) should be (hiring) within the next two weeks. I think the companies will have announcements on that. One of the other industries will be (adding new jobs) between now and 2013," said Foster.
The DeKalb County August unemployment rate was at 9.5%, down from 9.7% in July but up slightly from 9.4% in August 2010.
The local labor force in August was at 10,120. A total of 9,160 were employed and 960 were without work.
DeKalb County's unemployment rate for August tied with Cannon for fourth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region .