February 14, 2011 by staff
Olive Garden, With the planned closure of Dillard’s Mall in Decatur, 85 people could join the nearly 10,000 unemployed people across Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties. Fifty more employees could be included in this figure the potential loss of the mall from JC Penney Outlet Store. Many unemployed people here continue to turn in applications with little hope of finding a job. Others are encouraged to improve their skills through staff training and continuing education pending the return of jobs.
It’s still a tough job market and competes in northern Alabama, allowing many companies to be selective in the number of hires they make some. Abott Wood, team leader at Alabama Career Center in Decatur, said that some industries were Decatur take applications once a year and then draw from this pool throughout the year to replace employees who leave through retirement or quitting. Earlier this month, Decatur General Electric plant has taken applications for 30 openings on the production line, “said Wood. More than 1,500 people applied. “This was the only one who has recently been looking to fill several positions,” he said. “Other places are looking for one or two people here and there.”
Across the counties of Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone, 9,622 people are unemployed for a combined unemployment rate of 10.6 percent, according to state data. The unemployment rate for Morgan, Lawrence and Limestone counties for December were 8.9, 9.7 and 7.5 percent, respectively – all less than in December 2009 – according to the latest data from the Department of state of industrial relations. The unemployment rate in the state was 9.1 percent.
Dillard’s decision “was a surprise, for sure,” said John Seymour, president of the Chamber of Commerce Decatur-Morgan County. “But things are getting better, and I know because people talk of us who would not before.
“Olive Garden and Wintzell would not be coming to Decatur if they thought that people would not come here to eat.”
Restaurant seafood Wintzell will initially hire 100 people before reduced to 71, while Olive Garden could use an estimate of full-time workers 80.
Hartselle, the second largest city in Morgan County, recently received a boost with 191 jobs created by the opening of Cracker Barrel. But the city lost 550 jobs from May 2009 to October 2010, officials said.
“We did not lose more jobs, but I’m not aware of hiring anyone,” said Mayor Dwight Tankersley.
Morgan County Government under a hiring freeze and only fill the positions as employees leave. When job openings are announced, people who are unemployed to react quickly.
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