ECD says ‘low-cost labor’ in tune with ‘high quality jobs’

State economic development officials said Thursday there’s no conflict in their agency’s goal of recruiting “high quality jobs” to the state and its marketing of Tennessee as “low-cost labor force,” reports Richard Locker.

The agency’s assistant commissioner for communications and marketing, Clint Brewer, said Thursday that “selling the state’s low-cost labor force and recruiting high-quality jobs do not conflict. Tennessee enjoys the strategic advantage of having low-cost labor because it costs less to live here than it does in most states, (and) our debt per capita is low as are our taxes.

“The cost of labor is measured nationally by comparing labor costs between states. The quality of a job is measured at the local level in the context of a state’s cost of living and the average wage within a county. A high-quality job in New York or California will pay more than that same high quality job in Tennessee. Within the context of Tennessee’s costs of living, it is still a high-quality job,” he said.

The state is evaluating its placement of foreign representatives as contracts for existing offices either have just expired or will soon in Mexico, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and China. The RFI seeks responses, by Sept. 21, for representatives in the U.K. and Western Europe, Korea, Italy, Germany, Eastern Europe, China and Brazil.