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NETWORKS study says 1,500 new Sullivan jobs will lead to 610 more

Rick Wagner • Feb 9, 2017 at 11:06 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — Jobs begat jobs.

Almost 1,500 new jobs announced for Sullivan County and its cities in 2016 will result in 610 “spin-off” positions, according to a study commissioned by the NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership and released publicly Wednesday. In addition, it found that the organization’s joint economic development efforts were in the top 5 to 10 percent of similar efforts of comparable groups east of the Mississippi River.

The secondary job creation figures are according to Next Move Group LLC, of St. Louis, which NETWORKS officials said oversaw the study and has established relationships with several universities and utilizes them to provide objective data. 

“Following one of its busiest years since its inception, NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership commissioned an economic impact study to examine the effects of its and its community partners’ successes in 2016,” a NETWORKS news release said.

“After such an extraordinary year, some of my colleagues across the state recommended that we examine what these job announcements mean to our communities and region,” NETWORKS CEO Clay Walker said. “Typically, as an economic development organization, you just keep moving along with the work at hand, but it is important to communicate with your stakeholders and partners that their investments —  financially and in their work with us — are paying off. Using Next Move Group removes our interests from the equation and gives us an objective, by-the-numbers account of our primary job sectors’ investments’ impact to Northeast Tennessee.”

While NETWORKS markets and recruits for Hawkins County as well as Sullivan County, the study took into account only the announcements in Sullivan County. NETWORKS is the economic development organization serving Sullivan County, including Bluff City, Bristol, and Kingsport, and neighboring Hawkins County. In addition, although two later announcements increased original employment projections, the study based its findings on the original numbers.

In all, those original announcements projected 1,474 new jobs. Based on the industry sectors they represented and expected wages and investment, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Economic Development Research Center projected an additional 610 “spin-off” jobs will be created. The center’s report used conservative multipliers for this study, which also said that the 2,084 primary and secondary jobs would pump more than $67 million per year into the economy via new wages.

Among the companies that announced new investment and job creation in 2016 were: Agero, Alpha Natural Resources, Contura, KPS Global, Leclerc Foods, Sara Lee, and Teleperformance. Adjusting for Hawkins County announcements and revised projections, NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership and its partners reported a total of more than $70 million of investment representing 1,540 new jobs

In addition, the report compared NETWORKS’ totals to similar organizations in terms of population and other demographics, including distance to a top 50 metro area. It found that in terms of new wages expected to be created in their respective economies, the Sullivan County agency ranked in the top 5 percent of similar organizations east of the Mississippi River. In terms of total jobs created in the county in 2016, based on published announcements, the organization was in the top 10 percent of the same group of economic development organizations.

“It is gratifying that while we were in the upper 10 percent of raw numbers, we were in the upper 5 percent in wages, which demonstrates some very desirable companies invested in Sullivan County,” Walker said. “Even in sectors that do not offer the traditionally higher-paying jobs, the companies we recruited last year pay above their respective industries’ average wages. Some of the existing companies that expanded are among our preferred employers as well, which also contributed to this ranking.”

For more, visit networkstn.com.

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