• Atlanta Northcutt

Sevier County has the state's highest unemployment rate with Warren County close behind

By: James Clark -- Editor for the Southern Standard

I received a great deal of feedback about last week’s column where it was revealed Warren County has the second highest unemployment rate in the state behind Sevier County.

It was noted, by several folks, that Sevier County is a no-brainer for high unemployment due to its heavy reliance on tourism. With a pandemic gripping the globe, it’s natural to assume people are traveling less and isolating more.

But how is Warren County second? That seems to be the general question.

I think it’s a combination of small jobs losses adding up, coupled with major job losses at factories like Bridgestone and Yorozu.

Keep in mind, the unemployment numbers are for May. JC Penney was closed for the entire month and so was Bath & Body Works, which continues to be shut down. Those aren’t hundreds of jobs, but they add up.

When it comes to restaurants, Gondola’s dining room was closed all of May, Ming’s continues to be closed, and China Wok has just now reopened. Again, these aren’t huge job numbers, but they accumulate.

When you combine those developments with the fact hundreds of employees from Yorozu and Bridgestone likely filed for unemployment benefits for at least some part of May, it’s easy to see how Warren County's job losses have been fairly considerable.

The good news is a wide array of local companies are now hiring. This includes manufacturing jobs, fast food jobs, and even jobs at your award-winning hometown newspaper.

The bad news when it comes to getting local residents back to work is unemployment benefits, state and federal, are paying people around $20 an hour to stay at home and not work. It’s certainly a challenge to find folks to work 40 hours per week when they can earn more working zero hours per week.

Morrison Industries Looks to hire 50 Relief for Warren County’s high unemployment rate is in sight. Morrison Industries has announced it is now hiring and looking to add around 50 employees to its workforce. “We saw the story in the paper and we want people to know that we are hiring,” said Morrison Industries marketing manager Brittany Youngblood. “We’re looking to hire workers who are family and community- minded. That’s our focus. We want to bring in people who are going to be with us for the long term.” Morrison Industries had a bit of a slowdown when the major auto manufacturers shut down operations, but that slowdown is in the past. “We’re not moving slowly at all,” said Youngblood. “It’s really full steam ahead.” Added Keri Martin, the vice president of human resources at Morrison Industries, “We have great opportunities here and are looking to add people to our family atmosphere.” Like so many great American businesses, Morrison Industries got its start in a basement. In this case it was the basement of the Julian family, which started a small tool and die shop in 1979. The Wilson family purchased the company in 1994 and it has grown into a $25 million annual

operation with locations in Morrison and in Novi, Michigan. Morrison Industries specializes in manufacturing shipping containers for the automotive and agriculture industries. To apply for a job, visit www.morrisonindustries. com or call the company’s HR department at 668-7909.

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