Category Archives: jobs

UT report says Volkswagen expansion could create 9,800 new jobs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A new study projects Volkswagen’s expansion in Chattanooga could lead to the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs.

The report conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Business and Economic Research was released Wednesday and estimates the factory could add $370 million in new annual income once the expanded production is underway.

The report was commissioned by Volkswagen, which is spending $704 million to grow the plant to make a new sports utility vehicle and to open its new North American Engineering and Planning Center.

The projected 9,800 new jobs include 1,800 positions at the plant and 200 jobs at the engineering center.

“Extensive supplier linkages and good incomes earned by Volkswagen employees account for the significant employment gains and economic multiplier effects in Tennessee,” said Bill Fox, the director of the UT center and author of the report.

The plant expansion is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2016.

“The study underscores Volkswagen’s commitment to Tennessee, and we are excited to grow our team and the Chattanooga plant as we gear up for the production of our first-ever seven-passenger SUV for the U.S. market,” Christian Koch, the president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said in a release.

The Chattanooga facility is Volkswagen’s lone U.S. assembly plant.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam last week signed into law the state’s $33.8 billion spending plan that included about $166 million in state incentives for the VW plant expansion.

TN unemployment rate at 6 percent, lowest in 7 years

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6 percent, down from 6.3 percent in March and the lowest rate in seven years.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said it is the third consecutive monthly decline.

The national rate for April was 5.4 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point lower than the previous month.

Nonfarm employment increased by 6,400 jobs from March to April.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.5 percent to 6 percent in the past year, while the national rate declined from 6.2 percent to 5.4 percent. Nonfarm employment increased by 47,000 jobs in Tennessee in the past year.

State figures show the largest increases from March to April occurred in accommodation/food services, administrative/support/waste services, mining/logging/construction and finance/insurance.

Company fires 600 workers after collecting $1.25M in state incentives

Conduit Global will lay off nearly 600 workers in Memphis after spending $1.25 million in state incentives provided for construction and training, reports the Commercial Appeal.

However, the company, which disclosed the layoffs Wednesday, is not yet in danger of having to repay the state of Tennessee.

Conduit Global promised to provide 1,000 new jobs at the call center that opened last year, but the New York firm has until Dec. 15, 2018, to reach its jobs target before the state could seek to “claw back” any of its $1.25 million.

“The grant term is five years, and the department is monitoring the project closely,” said Clint Brewer, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development assistant commissioner for communications and marketing.

“We are hopeful that during the grant term Conduit Global will meet its employment obligations,” Brewer said by e-mail.

Conduit Global on Wednesday told its employees as well as the state that it will lay off 592 employees by July 2 due to an unexpected loss of a client for its customer care call center services. The pink slips began that day, with about 90 wireless trainees, according to information the company filed with the state.

TN unemployment rate down to 6.6% — still higher than national rate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s unemployment rate for December was 6.6 percent, two-tenths of one percentage point lower than the previous month.

Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips said the November rate was 6.8 percent.

The national rate for December was 5.6 percent, also a two-tenths drop from the prior month.

State figures show that nonfarm employment increased by 12,500 jobs from November to December.

The largest increases occurred in trade/transportation/utilities, manufacturing, and mining/logging/construction.

Herron bashes Haslam on TN unemployment rate

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron released the following statement in response to Governor Haslam’s remarks yesterday expressing his confusion about why the state unemployment rate remains so high:

“The governor can’t figure out why Tennessee’s state unemployment rate is one of the five highest in the nation. But his administration’s failures are having dire consequences for Tennesseans all across the state.

“Instead of accepting $1.2 billion this year in 100% federal funding to expand Medicaid, which would have saved 1,800 lives and created tens of thousands of jobs, the governor has done nothing as rural hospitals have closed and urban hospitals have laid off workers.

“Instead of providing scholarships for students or training for workers, the state’s first billionaire governor is abolishing the inheritance tax for billionaires.

“Now, the governor’s proposing drastic cuts to the state budget, which will mean more Tennesseans losing their jobs and more vulnerable Tennesseans like children, the sick, and the mentally ill being denied services. If the governor wants to find the source of Tennessee’s high jobless rate, he should look in the mirror- and change his policies.”

Background

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Governor Haslam said of the unemployment rate, “it’s a little hard for us to understand why that number hasn’t budged” and that “Haslam said he has asked some economists to look into the unemployment statistics to ‘dig back into’ the figures to see if they can find an explanation for Tennessee’s high jobless rate.”

The AP also reported House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh’s response: “Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie . . . instead of tinkering with those figures, we should focus on the problem which is the neglect of our existing small businesses.”

Governor wonders why TN unemployment rate is so high; Fitzhugh has an answer

By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam is questioning why Tennessee’s unemployment rate remains well above the national level when other statistics indicate the state’s jobs picture should be improving.

The most recent national unemployment rate released Friday was 5.9 percent — the lowest level since the depths of the Great Recession in July 2008. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s jobless rate was 7.4 percent in August.

Haslam said after a recent jobs announcement in Mt. Juliet that Tennessee is among the top states adding new jobs and that the state is not adding a large number of new claims for unemployment benefits.

“It’s a little hard for us to understand why that number hasn’t budged,” Haslam said. “If you look at the number of net new jobs added, and the people filing unemployment, both of those are going in the right direction in Tennessee.”

Tennessee’s enduring jobless rate is coupled with sluggish revenue collections that have led the governor to have all state agencies prepare for up to 7 percent cuts in the upcoming budget year. Haslam’s critics say the jobless rate and potential spending cuts fly in the face of the governor’s often rosy outlook on the state’s fiscal outlook.

“Unfortunately, the numbers don’t lie,” said House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley. “Instead of tinkering with those figures, we should focus on the problem which is the neglect of our existing small businesses.”

Fitzhugh said the Haslam administration has directed its economic development too much on large projects.

Officials in Tennessee should “refocus our efforts to support our existing small businesses,” he said. “They provide the bulk of our jobs, but it always seems like this administration is focused on big, costly out-of-state recruitment.”

Haslam said he has asked some economists to look into the unemployment statistics to “dig back into” the figures to see if they can find an explanation for Tennessee’s high jobless rate.

Governor gets task force report on employment of the disabled

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the completion of the Employment First Task Force report that outlines the steps the task force will take to expand integrated, competitive employment for people with disabilities as well as progress the group has already made.

Formed last year when the governor signed Executive Order No. 28, the task force is comprised of state agencies, families, consumer advocates and service providers, and it seeks to eliminate obstacles to employment for persons with disabilities and better leverage funds to increase opportunities.

“By bringing everyone together we can work to remove any barriers to employment and use tax dollars more effectively to improve services,” Haslam said. “We’re pleased to see what progress Tennessee has made in just one year when all stakeholders collaborate and bring ideas to the table.”
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U.S. Labor Secretary Perez visits Memphis, hails Jobs Core Center

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez spent much of the morning Wednesday at the Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps Center in Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal. He was there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a job-training program for youth, patterned loosely after the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

“I believe in second chances,” Perez, a former Department of Justice lawyer, told dozens of students and dignitaries at the center. “If we don’t give people a second chance, we’re not being very American.”

…in the carpentry lab at the center, Perez took a beating in a nail-pounding contest with student Ashley Anderson, 21.

“Ashley kicked my butt,” Perez said. “I need to tell you, I do home improvement projects on the side, not that well, but I do them. Ashley beat me, but she had a smile on her face throughout.”

The Hooks center is the fifth-highest performer among 125 Job Corps centers, a ranking based on metrics that include retention, graduation and placement rates.

TN unemployment rate bounced up to 7.1 percent in July

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for July was 7.1 percent, five tenths of one percentage point higher than the 6.6 June revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for July was 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent in June.

Economic Summary

• Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate decreased from 8.4 percent to 7.1 percent while the national rate declined from 7.3 percent to 6.2 percent.

• Total nonfarm employment increased 3,300 jobs from June to July. The largest increases occurred in mining/logging/construction, financial activities, and retail trade.

• Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 51,900 jobs. The largest increases occurred in professional/business services, leisure/hospitality, and trade/transportation/utilities.

TN unemployment rate in May: 6.4 percent

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced today the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for May is 6.4%, a tenth of one percentage point higher than the 6.3% April revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for May is 6.3%, same as the U.S. April revised rate.

Economic Summary:

* Over the past year, Tennessee’s unemployment rate decreased from 8.4% to 6.4% while the national rate decreased from 7.5% to 6.3%.

* Total nonfarm employment increased 6,700 jobs from April to May. The largest increases occurred in leisure/hospitality, retail trade, and local government.

* Over the year, nonfarm employment increased 56,900 jobs. The largest increases occurred in professional/business services, leisure/hospitality, and trade/transportation/utilities.