RUTHERFORD CO., Tennessee. October 10, 2020 (WKRN) — While many counties across the country are experiencing economic lows, county leaders in one of the fastest growing areas of Tennessee says they’re open; they’re booming; plus, they have 5,000 jobs open right now. “In Rutherford county, construction, supply chain, health care and manufacturing are our fastest growing industries – and even despite COVID – continue to see that growth,” said Beth Duffield, the Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce Development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.
Rutherford County was at about 3.2 percent unemployment before the pandemic hit. Then the rate skyrocketed to about 13 percent during the lockdown, and now it’s down to 7.5 percent. “What’s been really interesting for us has been what industries grew or continued to maintain through COVID and that was really our construction industry an our supply chain industry,” Duffield explained.
That’s due to demand for products during the pandemic from companies like Ingram Content Group who supplies books on Amazon. Construction was deemed essential during the pandemic, especially in places like Murfreesboro where a recent study by the University of Tennessee found it continues to be the fastest growing city in the state. “We have new folks moving here all the time, despite, again, a crazy 2020, and covid and lots of different factors,” Duffield added.
Some companies are even making big expansions. “MAHLE Filter systems here in Murfreesboro is also expanding, they are adding 300 jobs in injection molding and 140,000 square feet to their plan, and those jobs are both entry to mid-level manufacturing,” Duffield said. However, there are still about four percent of those filing unemployment in the county that have not gone back to work.
The Chamber provided online sessions with employers last month, and now they’re offering free training to get people certified in industries such as construction. “We’re partnering with the American Jobs center and TCAT Murfreesboro. We’re providing stackable credential trainings the first kicking off October 19th,” Duffield said, “Individuals will earn the NCCER fundamentals credential, OSHA certification, and an ACT work ready community certification as well.” She added those who complete the program are guaranteed job interviews with local employers.