The U.S. Department of Labor has released statistics showing the Cleveland/Bradley County metropolitan area ranks first in the nation for the largest positive percentage change in total nonfarm …
The U.S. Department of Labor has released statistics showing the Cleveland/Bradley County metropolitan area ranks first in the nation for the largest positive percentage change in total nonfarm employment.
Doug Berry, Cleveland-Bradley Chamber of Commerce vice president of economic development, announced the numbers to the city/county Industrial Development Board during its Tuesday morning meeting.
According to the DOL, the area has seen an increase of 4,200 jobs between February 2015 and February 2016. That is a 9.3 percent increase.
The Chattanooga area, while seeing a higher number of 8,600 over the measuring period, only ranks with a 3.6 percent change, placing it in the 42nd place slot.
Coming in second within the nationwide data was Ocean City, N.J., which saw an 8.8 percent increase.
“We have the highest growth in labor market of all metropolitan areas in the United States, of all sizes,” Berry said.
“This is just reflective of what we have known we were building to over the last few years,” he said. “I just want to say this reflects a great long-term commitment for economic development in the community. The partnerships we have developed, the volunteerism of people like yourselves giving to us, it helps people like myself and [Chamber President] Gary Farlow perform, and we do appreciate it.”
He said it was “everybody else” who made this happen, adding “mostly our industries.”
“That’s 4,200 new jobs in a two-county area,” Berry said, adding the local metropolitan area includes Bradley and Polk counties.
“Most of these other metro areas are usually four-plus counties,” he said.
Chattanooga’s metro area includes three Georgia counties and Meigs County in Tennessee.
Berry also said Polartec has now occupied the Dillard Building, and is “fully operational as their national distribution center.”
He added Amazon has provided its annual report which shows last year it had 800 employees.
“As of the end of March, they are reporting 1,044 full-time employees,” Berry said.
Board member Scott Taylor noted that number was supposed to be 250 when the company started its Charleston operations.
“It is the result of growth in their business,” Berry said.
He also noted a recent visit to the Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Park showed “every company had a sign in the front yard” advertising for workers.
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