Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Scott County has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the state, according to data released by the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) last week.
KYSTATS, an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, reported that Scott County currently holds a 4 percent unemployment rate. This is somewhat lower than the state’s unemployment rate, which is currently at 5 percent, and the country’s rate, which is at 6.6 percent.
But Jack Conner, executive director of the Georgetown-Scott County Chamber of Commerce, said it’s important to remember that the statistics are somewhat skewed.
“The data itself is only reflective of those people who are on unemployment, so you’re missing those who are no longer receiving unemployment, you’re missing those who have been wanting to work but have been unable to find a job,” he said. “As an example, if somebody has gone through whatever amount of time they are eligible for unemployment and they are off and looking for work, they are not counted in that 4 percent. So, overall, the numbers are a bit skewed because you’re only dealing with those that have been reported by the employment office to the state.”
Because of the effects the pandemic has had on jobs in the county, Conner said employers have tried to do their best to accommodate.
“We have been at a higher rate of unemployment during the pandemic,” he said. “I think, generally speaking, we have found that a significant amount of employers have tried to maintain their employees, so some of those folks are not working at the businesses, they’re working at home. I’m talking specifically of manufacturing. So while they may not actually be in a facility, they are still providing their employers with the required work.”
Still, Conner said he does not deny the effects COVID-19 has had on local employers over the last year, but is proud of their ability to adapt.
“COVID itself has been, I think, a significant impact on certain businesses in order for their businesses to work,” he said. “I’m specifically thinking in terms of retail and commercial businesses, but it has also impacted the larger employers who are concerned about contact-tracing. Some people are working from home and will continue to do so. But other companies have found was to be innovative as it relates to contract-tracing and been in contact with WEDCO. I think it’s not very simple, but we’re fortunate to be where we are.”
Conner added that he is proud of county business’ ability to adapt to these uncertain circumstances, as is shown in the data.
“In order to meet need, you’ve got to adapt,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to find ways to do things in a more effective and efficient manner. How do you allow your employees to be functional in an environment where requirements say you can’t be together? It does not mean it’s a perfect world, but it’s about making modifications where you can to meet safety requirements and at the same time be able to function.”
Even the Chamber itself is no stranger to the effects of pandemic.
“The Chamber has been impacted negatively,” Conner said. “We’ve lost members. We understand that in order to make a business run, you have to prioritize what your expenditures are going to be. But now we’re seeing an increase from where we were two years ago, so I think we’re going to be able to build back to a level that we’re comfortable with.”
But that doesn’t mean that opportunities aren’t available. In fact, the new Texas Roadhouse on Paris Pike announced on Monday that it would be bringing 250 new jobs to Georgetown.
According to a press release, Texas Roadhouse is currently hiring for full- and part-time positions with the restaurant employing a variety of positions. Those interested in applying can visit apply.texasroadhouse.com. Interviews will begin from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, April 19 at Home2 Suites located at 270 Tiger Way in Georgetown. However, the opening date has yet to be announced.
Scott County Schools has also been hiring several bus drivers. For those without an existing commercial driver’s license, the district offers paid training to help obtain one. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED and a valid regular driver’s license. Those interested may call 502-570-3042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orbis Corporation, Scott County Conservation District and Hayne’s Trucking have all recently placed Help Wanted ads in the News-Graphic as well.
For those who are struggling with unemployment, Conner said Scott County has plenty of opportunities available.
“There are ample opportunities to work in our community,” he said. “We know there are a lot of folks who are not receiving benefits who we hope are looking for employment opportunities because we know there are plenty available.”
Kyle Woosley can be reached at email@example.com.