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ROANE COUNTY, TN – Information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment numbers have plummeted in recent months, including a rate of 3.4% for Roane County in the month of May. That marks a drop of 2.3% from last June’s recorded rate of 5.7%. The 3.4% rate means there were only 770 people not working in a labor force of 22,800 people.
The 3.4% rate marks the lowest recorded unemployment rate in Roane County history according to officials with the TN Governor’s Office. The rate across the state of TN has also dropped significantly as the economy has continued to improve.
“Companies across the state have been expanding and we’ve seen new business locations in most communities statewide,” said Wade Creswell, President/CEO of the Roane Alliance. “In Roane County we’ve worked to assist many of our existing companies with expansions which is traditionally where more than 80% of new jobs are created.”
Roane County has quietly experienced net job growth for several years in a row. Last year alone saw expansions at Dienamic Tooling Systems, C.R. Barger & Sons, H.T. Hackney, and Roane Transportation. Lemond Composites also announced location of its new manufacturing facility that will lead to 230 new jobs.
In the last 2 months, Netshape has announced a significant expansion, and Heubach Corporation and AC Global Energy have recently located new operations in the Roane County Industrial Park.
“We’re excited to be what we consider full employment,” said Roane County Executive Ron Woody. “Although, we recognize that many Roane Countians remain underemployed. So, our work continues to bring better jobs to the area.”
“Tennessee is a very popular state for company relocation because of the incredible business climate and its location respective to major markets in the country,” Creswell continued. “Roane County has been an attractive location within the state for many of the same reasons- 8 interchanges on I-40, proximity to Knoxville, and the presence of Oak Ridge National Lab within the county’s boundaries. Economic Development in Tennessee has moved from making sure everyone has a job to making sure everyone has an opportunity for a better job.”
Senator Ken Yager said he believes there are many factors that have come together to bring record levels of employment to Roane County and the state. “Governor Haslam’s leadership with support from the General Assembly in economic development has certainly led our state to enjoy a very healthy economy,” Yager added. “And, Roane County and the surrounding area have so much to offer including an incredible quality of life. The potential for strong growth in Roane County is very high.”
Development continues at industrial parks within the county with active projects to prepare sites for location. At Roane Regional Business and Technology Park off I-40 Exit 362, a grading project will go to bid in the coming weeks. Design work for grading of sites in Roane County Industrial Park in Rockwood has recently been completed. And, work to build roads, grade sites and improve sewer capacity at Plateau Partnership Park are all projects in process.
“Our work never stops,” said Creswell. “We are always working to improve the quality of life for the people of Roane County through economic development. According to the US Census Bureau, the per capita income for Roane County is $23,287/year or $11.20/hr. All of our recruitment efforts are focused on recruiting jobs that pay much more than that. Employment numbers won’t always be this positive. We want to be ready when that time comes and raising per capita income will be a good measure of our efforts."
In celebration of this milestone, there will be a celebration including free cake and ice cream at Kingston City Park pavilion on Monday, July 17, at 5PM immediately following WBIR Channel 10’s Hometown Spotlight on Kingston from 4-5PM. The public is invited to attend.
The Roane Alliance is the comprehensive resource in anything and everything concerning businesses, tourism and economic development in Roane County, which includes the Industrial Development Board, Visitors Bureau and Chamber, and programs such as Education Matters and Retire Roane. Our mission is to create an environment and a unified voice that promotes job creation, economic development, enhanced quality of life, education and workforce. To learn more about the Roane Alliance please call 865.376.2093 or visit www.roanealliance.org.##