Bringing Jobs to Jefferson County - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Bringing Jobs to Jefferson County

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Augusta, GA -

Jefferson County is one of Georgia's largest counties by size.

It also has one of the state's highest unemployment rates.

Jefferson County's unemployment rate is at nearly 17%.

That's the 2nd highest jobless rate in the CSRA just behind Jenkins County.

We pulled data from the Department of Labor for the last 15 years, and found– the highest unemployment rate was in the late 90's – and over the past 5 years, that rate has continued to increase.

Around 17,000 people call Jefferson County home, but only about 7,000 of them take home a paycheck.

"When people lose their jobs, no matter where they live and where they work, it's not good for anybody's economy," said Lil Easterlin with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

Here in Jefferson County, 2 major manufacturing plants, Glit Microtron and Thermo King shut down their doors in the last 2 years. Now that took away around 400 jobs but it also affected many local businesses."

"If you've lost your job, you've lost benefits, and that affects our local hospitals, gas stations, drug stores and mom and pop stores downtown," said Easterlin.

But with 3 large industrial parks, the county plans to bring businesses back to the area.

 "We have high unemployment, and high unemployment that means lots of available workforce," said Easterlin.

 "High unemployment means you have employees so companies have employees and we have land, we have buildings, and employees for hiring," said Tom Jordan with the Jefferson County Development Authority.

To lower the nearly 17% unemployment rate, local leaders are luring companies in the manufacturing and energy sectors because of the county's infrastructure.

"A lot of the companies we have in Jefferson County use natural resources like wood, kaolin and companies that need a lot of land in a rural area that you can't find in a city area," said Easterlin.

Most of the companies in the county are in manufacturing.

Now when companies invest in Jefferson County, it also boosts the land tax which pumps money into the local economy.

The unemployment rate in the Augusta area went down to 9.1% in July.

But for the entire CSRA region, the rate rose to 10.5%.

That's still higher than Georgia's average which is at 8.8%, and South Carolina's which is at 8%.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate sits at 7.4%.

Quick Facts

Chamber of Commerce

Jefferson County Economic Development Authority

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