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Southwest Virginia Miners Lose Jobs We Get Minimum-Wage jobs Instead

by Lewis Loflin

Ref. Bristol Herald Courier Dec. 16, 2014.

Another 175 Virginia coal miners lost their jobs. Buchanan County economic meltdown continues.

At the same time Bristol Virginia is celebrating the opening of another hotel that will produce 40 mainly minimum-wage part-time jobs. This is just an example of the continuing downward spiral of the region's economy.

East Tennessee State University economist Dr. Steb Hipple notes that while retail sales have gone up in Bristol actual employment continues to plummet. The report doesn't go into the fact that this kind of taxpayer subsidized retail development such as the Bass Pro shop merely shifts around existing retail dollars.

What also was not noted is the loss of every $25 an hour job takes two other service sector jobs with it. The actual employment loss is more like 500.

This is further compounded by the Obama care problem. Marginal low-wage employers such as this hotel will be forced to keep most of its workers not only underpaid, but under 30 hours a week to evade Obama care.

Local news reports are also claiming that by 2025 electricity rates will soar by at least one-third to meet environmental regulations. Housing costs in this region are already high relative to most of the jobs created here.

So not only do we put up with less jobs at lower pay we have a skyrocketing cost of living relative to lower wage scales.

But the trend is clear we keep replacing $25 an hour jobs with seven dollar an hour jobs and wonder why Southwest Virginia ranks near the bottom of every social demographic in the state.