Unemployment rate expected not to change for some time

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2002

With the announcement that Hyundai has chosen Alabama as its site for its new plant, it is expected that more than 2,000 jobs will be available throughout south central Alabama.

But, according to Steve Layfield, office manager of the Alabama State Employment Agency in Greenville, the unemployment rate is not expected to change too much in the near future.

"I think the plant is going to help this area tremendously, but it will be a while before we see any significant effects on the job market," said Layfield. "The majority of jobs that will open in the next few months are going to be construction jobs."

However, Layfield said that eventually the plant will have an impact on the employment rate of Butler County. "A lot of people here in Butler County have manufacturing and production experience. We have a lot of experience in that area in our workers, and I believe that a large percentage of people that will be employed will be from Butler County," he said.

Layfield added that the opening of new jobs will have a rippling effect. "Many of the people who will be employed by Hyundai already are employed now, but if they leave their positions, then it will create a job opening for someone who is unemployed."

However,

Layfield said the majority of manufacturing and production jobs will not be open until three or four years down the road. "There will be a lot of construction jobs in upcoming months, both for houses and businesses within maybe a 75-mile radius. But, there probably will not be an immediate effect on the the unemployment rate until the plant opens."

He also added that it will not just be jobs open at the Hyundai plant itself in Hope Hull, but also, hopefully, here in Butler County. "A good number of people who will work at the plant are not going to want to live in Prattville or Millbrook because they are not going to want to fight the traffic; they probably are going to locate here in Butler County because we are just 25 minutes away. We also stand a good chance of getting a lot of spin-off jobs from the plant, which also would help Butler County."