Optimism on jobs in Chattanooga

Optimism on jobs in Chattanooga

December 2nd, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

It's a pity that the entire United States cannot enjoy the job growth that the Chattanooga area has seen in recent months.

Growth in hiring at Internet retailer Amazon's Bradley and Hamilton County distribution centers helped push down unemployment in the six-county metropolitan Chattanooga area significantly during October. And of course there has been strong hiring for quite some time at the big Volkswagen manufacturing plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

October unemployment in the area dropped 0.8 percent, from 8.7 percent to 7.9 percent.

Unemployment in metro Chattanooga had not been below 8 percent since just before President Barack Obama took office, nearly three years ago.

That's still not exactly a "good" unemployment rate, but during the past year, employment in the region has risen by more than 1.7 percent -- approximately twice as much as it has grown across the United States in the same period.

In Hamilton County specifically, October unemployment was a bit lower still, at 7.8 percent. The rate ranged from 8.1 percent up to 11.7 percent in nearby counties. Those are high rates, of course, but they do represent decreases from the previous month.

We sympathize with those who are still jobless in our area and nationwide. But at least locally, there appears to be some reason for optimism.