Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant is stepping on the hiring gas with plans to add 800 jobs to the 2,200 that already are on site. The additions will bring the German company closer to a full three-shift cycle. The news comes a week after VW officials said they will spend $40 million on a distribution facility in Roane County.
Jackson National Life Insurance says it will set up a new IT center at its regional headquarters in Cool Springs, a move that has it looking for 20 systems and programming employees. The insurer, a subsidiary of Britain's Prudential plc, says the expansion will lift its Franklin headcount to almost 300.
“The expansion will allow us to recruit from the Middle Tennessee area and the southeast region to find the skilled professionals necessary to build and maintain the complex technologies that provide Jackson with a competitive advantage. Our senior management team recognizes the importance of fostering technical innovation to continue to serve the needs of our customers and distribution partners in a proactive and efficient fashion.”
Tennessee’s unemployment rate for January fell to 8.2 percent, down from the December revised rate of 8.5, according to statistics the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development released Thursday.
In comparison, the national unemployment rate for January 2011 was 8.3 percent, a 0.2 percentage point drop from the December rate.
“This month the numbers show an increase of 12,700 jobs, so we are seeing positive growth in private industry,” department Commissioner Karla Davis said in a release. “The net gains are chipping away at the dramatic loss of jobs during the recession.”
A few highlights from information the department released:
• Tennessee’s unemployment rate is below the U.S. rate for the first time since November 2010.
• The number of unemployed persons (257,500) is the lowest since November 2008.
• The number of employed persons (2,877,300) is the highest since March 2008.
University of Tennessee Economist Bill Fox says the short-term industry reports are unusual when compared with yearly information.
“Year-over-year the amount of goods production, specifically construction and durable goods manufacturing, was very strong,” he said. “This short-term outpacing of goods manufacturing as compared with jobs created in service industries is unlike what we’ve seen for a while.”
The U.S. Postal Service announced Thursday that it is moving ahead with plans to close down dozens of processing centers around the country and consolidating the work at other facilities. Nashville looks to be a winner in the process: Work from both Bowling Green and Chattanooga will be moved here.
SEE ALSO: The first mention back in the fall of 2009 of the possibility of Bowling Green work being shifted here
Nissan executives said Monday they plan to add a second shift of workers to make the Infiniti XJ and Nissan Pathfinder crossovers at their Smyrna plant. The additions will add 1,000 workers over the coming year and, combined with the people who will make lithium-ion batteries next door, will lift Nissan's Smyrna payroll to almost 6,000.
Building 85 percent of the vehicles here rather than in Japan will “lower the impact of the yen by 50 percent,” Kruger said. When the value of the yen is high, production of vehicles destined for the U.S. market is more expensive in Japan because those vehicles, when sold here, are being paid for with U.S. dollars.
Maxor Correctional Pharmacy Services will expand its Cool Springs office by about 15 people after winning a three-year, $110 million contract with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Texas-based company acquired its local presence in 2007 by buying a number of the assets of Secure Pharmacy Plus, a subsidiary of what was then still America Service Group. It now provides pharmacy services to about 260,000 inmates in 27 states.
Many Middle Tennessee stocks posted solid gains in Friday trading after the government said hiring picked up nicely in January, pushing the U.S. jobless rate down to 8.3 percent. The main broader market indices all rose more than 1 percent in the first hour of trading and held on to their gains through 2 p.m. Central. But more than 10 local companies rose at least 3 percent. Health care names led the way, with Healthways, Community Health Systems and Vanguard Health Systems climbing 5 percent or more. Also up nicely were cyclical names Noranda Aluminum and Delek US Holdings. The screen grab below is as of 2:01 p.m.