New, Expanding Industries Mean More Etowah County Jobs

While Etowah County’s unemployment rate increased in June, prospects are better for jobs in the future,

McCain said three new or expanding industries are building facilities opening here later this year or sometime next year. Another industrial prospect will visit the area next week.

Fehrer Automotive is installing machinery and equipment.

The firm is expected to employ about 100 people and will produce seat pads for the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga as well as do work for Mercedes-Benz at Vance near Tuscaloosa.

United Casework is having equipment installed and will employ about 80 people.

Construction soon will start on a new plant for Prince Metal Stamping that will employ 30 people over three years.

McCain said the additions will have a positive impact on reducing employment, adding, “In the middle of this insane economy, to have three new industrial projects under way at the same time is, I think, evidence of the structural strength of Etowah County’s and Gadsden’s potential for more good news to come.”

Fehrer will do the bulk of its hiring next year, McCain said, and United Casework will begin hiring this fall.

Larry Foster, manager of the Gadsden Career Center, said there has been a “slight upturn” in the number of positions being posted with the state employment service.

“Hopefully, that’s an indication that things are turning around in this area and there’ll be more and more hiring taking place shortly,” Foster said.

McCain said hiring is going on in certain industries, but there is uncertainty over what will happen with the national economy and there are concerns about tax reform, regulatory reform and health care reform. That is causing corporate decision makers to “hold onto their money and not make capital investment decisions.”

Another problem, he said, is credit is very tight for companies that need financing. Consumers also are having problems obtaining credit for purchases.
By Andy Powell
Times Staff Writer