Hyundai plant great for Black Belt unemployment

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2005

REGION- While the Hyundai plant in Montgomery makes its final hires, the Black Belt is already reaping the benefits as unemployment numbers decrease.

The plant has hired Alabama residents from 54 counties across the state.

“I expect it will have a positive effect on the Black Belt,” James Mock, director of the Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of West Alabama, said. “Obviously they don’t have the required work force in the immediate area so they have to draw from surrounding counties.”

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Jay Shows of the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce, said the new plant has had a good impact on unemployment figures over the last year and a half by employing residents and using area suppliers.

“They already have a lot of their tier one and tier two employees and suppliers in place,” Shows said. “So their tier three suppliers are coming in and it shouldn’t do anything but good for the Black Belt Area.”

Both Shows and Mock agree the most benefit will go to the Montgomery area but believe that the Black Belt will gain from the plant as well.

Black Belt counties such as Wilcox, Lowndes, Dallas and Perry still have some of the highest unemployment rates in the state, but their numbers have all dropped below 10 percent.