Job growth ‘near record breaking’

Staff Reports • Updated Jul 15, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Job growth is “near a record breaking high” in Wilson County during the past year, according to the county’s chief recruiting arm for industrial and retail development.

G.C. Hixson, executive director of the Wilson County Joint Economic and 

Community Development Board, said Tuesday Wilson County has added more than 1,000 new industrial or related jobs since July 2013, which represents about 1/4 the number of new jobs added in the past decade.

“I don’t know when we last saw these types of employment growth numbers. We’ve got to be near a record-breaking high, Hixson said.

Hixson, reporting from his agency’s end-of-the-fiscal-year analysis, said, “these new employment opportunities represent new industries that have located in Wilson County, as well as a number of expansion projects completed by existing industries over the past 12 months.”

Hixson said the employment number does not include new retail jobs created during the past fiscal year. 

He said while the employment number “speaks for itself,” the impact on the local economy is “just as dramatic.”

Hixson estimated the new jobs created represent an annual payroll of more than $30 million. 

“Obviously [that] means more dollars to be spent locally and more local sales tax revenue to be generated to aid local schools, build roads, improve lifestyle amenities and generally benefit Wilson County,” he said.

Hixson said the county’s transportation arteries, its central location, infrastructure features, and a “spirit of cooperation among local government officials” have all contributed to the success his office has realized in creating new employment opportunities.

Hixson said the addition of Starbucks Distribution Center with 400 employees, Communications Test Design Inc. with 130 employees and Hollister Inc. with 86 employees were the three largest employers to locate operations in Wilson County during the last fiscal year and created more than 600 new jobs. 

Major expansions were reported at Amazon, Ozburn Hessey Logistics and Custom Packaging Inc. and accounted for more than 500 new jobs.

Hixson’s report was the 25th annual report to be issued by the JECDB. The agency was created in 1989 to be the principle recruiting force for new industry and retail development in Wilson County, including the county’s three municipalities of Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown.

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