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Inside Bulloch Business with Jan Moore - Some light on horizon for Jenkins County
Jan Moore
Jan Moore

      For the most part, I have reported on our local economy over the last three years. However, something that has continued to be a concern of mine during that time period has been the plight of our neighbors in Jenkins County.
      With the closing of all of their major manufacturing facilities, including MI Windows and Doors, as well as Jockey International, the county lost several hundred jobs in a short time period of time, and its unemployment rate remains the second highest in the state at 18.6 percent (roughly 1,400 citizens are jobless). The only county with a higher rate is Hancock County at 19.6 percent.
      With a population of 8,700, the loss of jobs has been devastating, so much so that Dateline NBC did a special report on the impact on the residents of Millen this past August.
      With the opening of the new Jenkins Correctional Center slated for next March, the 200 jobs created by the facility are a welcome relief to those living in the county.
      "CCA (owner, operator of the prison) has already put people to work here," said Paula Herrington, director of the Jenkins County Chamber of Commerce and the Jenkins County Development Authority. "Even though the prison isn't ready, upper level management is already at work, and it won't belong before everyone that is hired will be working."
      Herrington said construction of the prison has also provided work to many who work in the building industry.
      "There have been as many as 300 individuals working on that job site at one time," she said. "You can just sense that people are so relieved and delighted to have a job."
       Herrington said small manufacturer Stitch 'N Print opened back up this summer creating 60 new jobs.
       "Also, we are very excited that a manufacturer has bought land in Jenkins County, and is going through the process of preparing to build," she said. "I can't really comment at this time, because it hasn't been finalized, but we are very optimistic."
       Herrington said there is a new sense of optimism in the county, and residents are beginning to feel hope for the future.
       "You don't realize it, but when everyone has to leave where they live each day to go and work, our retailers suffer, other local businesses suffer, and our sales tax collections suffer," she said. "Hopefully, good things will continue to happen, and prosperity will return."
       I hope that as well. I really, really do.
      So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
      Got a scoop for Jan? Call (912) 489-9463; email jmoore@statesboroherald.com

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