Southwest Virginia Population decline 2010-2018.

Replacement Jobs for Washington County Virginia

by Lewis Loflin

There was a little bit of good news I suppose when Washington County announced the relocation of an Arizona firm to the Glade Springs area. Even the press called these "replacement" jobs for the earlier Gates Corporation fiasco that received a near identical corporate welfare package of this company for the promise of the same 140 jobs.

See Gates Corporation really bringing 172 jobs to Southwest Virginia? and Gates Corp. Dumps Washington County Corporate Welfare Fiasco

The jobs never really materialized never exceeding 100 and the firm pulled out in default on its incentive package obligations. This new deal seems near identical to the Gates Corporation deal who also was firing workers in other states and shifting the jobs here to reduce wages and collect public subsidies.

This is one of the big lies about Republican job creation or Democrats too for that matter. Case in point is Gov. Rick Perry of Texas who claimed zillions of new jobs that really weren't. Texas put out $20 billion in corporate welfare according to the New York Times, yet most of the jobs were jobs relocating from other states.

Not only did the company's cut wages to relocate to Texas, but the Center for Immigration Studies shows 87% of the jobs went to foreign-born workers.

So just like this new company that makes some kind of hand cleaner, a low end non-tech product, with the overall economy this can't be called new jobs when they fire workers in Arizona and simply shift to Virginia to collect public handouts and cut wages.

I predict this will be another repeat of Gates Corporation scam all too common under the guise of economic development today.

Then we have our friends at Bristol Compressors who after $2.65 million in corporate welfare with promises of new jobs instead fired 300, yet announced in April they might rehire 50. These too are counted as new jobs when in fact they are rehires. Simply moving jobs around or rehiring fired workers is not new jobs.

See Bristol Compressors More Corporate Welfare 2015?

Here rehires and replacement jobs hardly put a dent in the overall loss of good jobs combined with continually falling wages. That's why our region continues despite millions in corporate welfare and central planning to rank with inner-city slums and Indian reservations in job creation, poverty, and lack of economic opportunity.

In 2011 Bristol-Tri-Cities was ranked number 5 in the 10 poorest cities in America by

Ref. BHC July 30, 2015 and WJHL-Channel 11 October 2011.

See Three Decades of Job Losses in Southwest Virginia

Note that minimum wage in 1970 was $1.60 adjusted for inflation is $10.46 in 2018. That is what I call adjusted minimum wage. Assuming one even gets 40 per week that's for 52 weeks that equals $21,756. Per capita income in Bristol Virginia 2018 is $21,589. It is similar to this across the whole region.

Third world? Some have called us the China of America minus jobs.

Just a few of hundreds of plant closings see Smyth County the China of America loses jobs.

Tri-Cities labor market 2007-2016.

Update September 3, 2019. Based on data from Dr. Steb Hipple economist at East Tennessee State University (retired), his data goes to the 3rd. quarter of 2016. The level of job losses is Tri-Cities is staggering, worse than what even I thought.

(The Tri-Cities Consolidated Statistical Area is composed of the Kingsport/Bristol MSA and the Johnson City MSA.).

The Bristol TN-VA, Kingsport, and Johnson City Urbanized Area Labor Market lost thousands of jobs shrinking the labor force that shrank the unemployment rates. The above table shows a decline of labor force by almost 18,000. But it gets worse.

Includes: Johnson City, TN, Carter County, Unicoi County, Washington County.
All workers BLS:
2016 78,140 workers, Median hourly wage $14.47, Annual $40,140
2018 77,020 workers, Median hourly wage $15.38, Annual $42,740
Labor force fell 1120 jobs in 2 years.

Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSA includes: Bristol city, VA, Hawkins County, TN, Scott County, VA, Sullivan County, TN, Washington County, VA.

All workers BLS:
2016: 118,470, Median hourly wage $15.27, Annual $41,050
2018: 116,150, Median hourly wage $16.50, Annual $43,480
Labor force fell 2,320 in in 2 years.

That's not the worst of it still. For Tri-Cities the total labor force is 193,170. The labor force shrank by 3,440 jobs in 2 years - during a so-called boom. In 2009 the labor force was 247,965, minus 193,170 equals a staggering loss of 54,795 less people are working in 2019 than in 2009!.

I can't believe this myself. Anyone working here knows it is bad. That could be explained by high poverty and disability rates, and large numbers of retirees leaving the labor force. I don't know because a lot of data is hidden from the public. But makes sense when we look at the national labor force declines.