As the nation’s economy continues to regain its strength, jobs are more important than ever, and Rutherford County is doing its part to ensure stability in the local market.
A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Rutherford County in the nation’s top echelon in terms of employment growth, according to an announcement by the county’s Chamber of Commerce.
The First Quarter 2012 County Employment and Wages report indicates that employment increased in 293 of the 328 largest U.S. counties, of which Rutherford is included. The report measures employment growth from March 2011 to March 2012.
National employment is up 1.8 percent, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program. Rutherford County demonstrated an impressive 5.3 percent increase, making it third in the nation for percentage increase in employment.
“This report reiterates that our efforts with Destination Rutherford, to foster an environment for significant economic growth in Rutherford County, are working,” Destination Rutherford Chairman Bill Jones said. “Teamwork between key leaders in both the public and private sectors helps accomplish our goals of continuing to put Rutherford County on the map when it comes to job creation.”
In addition, the report showed that Rutherford County had a 5.9 percent increase in average weekly wages, surpassing the U.S. average of 5.4 percent, and placing the county in the top 45 percent of large U.S. counties included in the ranking.
“Our wage increase and percentage of overall job growth that made us third in the nation is outstanding,” said Paul Latture, president of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. “That momentum is continuing as we have companies in our community, big and small, that are creating jobs and filling positions. This puts us in a great place to maintain or improve our ranking as we move ahead.”
The employment and wage data in the report are compiled under the program and derived from reports submitted by every employer subject to unemployment insurance laws.
The 9.2 million employer reports cover 130.2 million full- and part-time workers. This means all jobs from all sizes of businesses are figured into the report.
Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said the ranking reflects “the whole series of things that makes us more attractive” in terms of workforce and education, among others. And looking forward, he said he expects much of the same.
Many of the jobs added to the county’s record have been “blue collar,” but Burgess stressed efforts to bring higher-paying employment to the community.
“I can assure you that we’re continuing to work on the other level of jobs that would be called ‘white collar’ jobs; they are still a focus point and an objective that we’re still working on achieving,” he said. “I’m sure it is still going to happen, it is just a matter of when.”
Through efforts by Destination Rutherford, the county was able to add hundreds of jobs at Amazon.com, which recently opened its new facilities on Joe B. Jackson Parkway in Murfreesboro.
Longtime member of the business community, Nissan North America, is also in the process of adding 1,300 workers to its battery plant for production of the zero-emissions Nissan Leaf. Roughly 200 jobs were already added and are figured into the report.
Both companies have kick-started the county’s progress toward another national ranking for the upcoming quarter, and even further growth may be possible if another large employer opts to call Rutherford County its home.
According to WGNS Radio, discussions are currently underway with the Rutherford County Industrial Development Board for a development dubbed “Project Velocity.”
The unnamed company that is currently in discussions with county officials has been offered a tax break of more than $1.5 million. If the company locates to the Murfreesboro area, more than 550 jobs are likely to be created, according to the WGNS report.
Since its inception in 2002, Destination Rutherford has been the leader in economic development in the area.
Created as a public and private initiative of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce to improve the economy and livability of the community by attracting significant capital investment and expansion of existing business and industry, Destination Rutherford aims to create better opportunities and jobs.