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Unemployment Rate High, But Hope Still Lingers
Thursday, 30 July 2009
July 29-- Toombs County's unemployment rate hit double-digits in June.

The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) reports the Toombs County rate is 10.3 percent compared to a state rate of 10.1. However, there is some good news on the employment front locally.

Bill Mitchell from the Toombs County Development Authority says the county serves as a retail center between Savannah and Macon.

"I think that we're a little bit unique in that we're kind of a retail center between Savannah and Macon. The good news is that we've got some stable companies here that we're very fortunate to have. Number one, the nuclear plant, not located in our county, but a lot of the people and the residents live here. And then during the outages each year, we have a large number of people coming in that stay in our community, work down there, and spend a lot of money in the restaurants and those kinds of things. But then our stable workforce, the hospital, and obviously what we've got going there some 400 employees. With the news hospital being built, we've got two years of significant contractors present with local and outside. And then I've talked to our other local manufactures that have been here for a long time: Oxford, Tumi, Savannah Luggage, DOT Foods, US Energy, and others. It's not the greatest of times, but they're all showing reasonably strong hold on their unemployment situation," says Mitchell.
Pictured left to right: Kiwanian Gary Campbell, Karen Boatwood, and Ian Boatwood
The most recent economic development in the area is the new 'Chicken of the Sea' tuna plant that is set to begin operation October 1. Plant Manager, Ian Boatwood, says hiring will begin soon.

"Out workforce will be approximately 200 employees initially. About 30 of those would be administrative type employees, and the rest would be production and maintenance type individuals. We are going to be receiving applications through the Department of Labor, and that will kick off with in the next week or so. We are also utilizing the 'Quick Start' people also to do some initial training with the employees," explains Boatwood.

Mitchell also says the community is still working with a canning company which may co-locate with 'Chicken of the Sea' and bring even more jobs to the area.
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