TVA chief: Region’s economy turning around
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 8:01 pm
CHATTANOOGA (AP) — Tennessee Valley Authority president Tom Kilgore said the region’s economy is starting to turn around, based on the utility’s count of new jobs in fiscal 2010.
Despite unemployment exceeding 10 percent in Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia and 9 percent in the other four states that TVA serves at the end of 2010, TVA records show the number of jobs the utility helped create rose last year for the first time since 2005.
TVA’s economic development efforts helped attract or retain 41,000 jobs, compared to about 26,000 in 2009. The size of the increase is partly due to TVA changing the way it counts jobs. For 2010, 12,520 jobs were saved or added at existing businesses.
Kilgore told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that TVA is “glad that it looks like the economy is beginning to turn around.”
A recovery from the downturn may take years.
TVA’s top business recruiter, John Bradley, said there is a “bit of uptick, but it isn’t huge.“
“I do think we are beginning to see a few more projects break lose as more companies begin to move through their business plan as the economy improves,” said Bradley, the utility’s senior vice president for economic development. “But we all wish it was even stronger.”
In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, TVA worked on $4.3 billion of projects, up from $4.2 billion the previous year.
Since 2007, the region has landed four $1 billion-plus business investments, including the $1 billion Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga; the $1.45 billion Wacker Chemical plant near Charleston, Tenn.; the $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor plant near Clarksville, Tenn.; and the $1 billion Toyota plant near Tupelo, Miss.
“We’ve seen fewer, but bigger deals,“ Bradley said.
In December 2010, Amazon.com Inc. announced plans to add 1,476 full-time and up to another 2,500 part-time employees at distribution facilities it is building in Hamilton and Bradley counties. Swedish appliance maker Electrolux, plans to relocate some of its operations from Canada to Memphis to create more than 1,200 jobs.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com
Published in The Messenger 3.9.11