Job-hunters have some reason for hope this week with several job fairs scheduled throughout East Tennessee.
The new Publix grocery store under construction at the Northshore exit of Pellissippi Parkway needs to hire 60 to 70 workers before it opens in August. On Tuesday hundreds of people filed into a job fair for Publix at the Holiday Inn off Cedar Bluff Road.
"We had a pretty strong turnout today," said Nick Collins, Publix staffing specialist. "We're looking to
fill front service clerks and cashiers. The rate is going to depend on
your previous experience and things like part-time or full-time."
The Publix job fair continues from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn.
There are currently hundreds of new job openings in the area with the expansions of retailers such as Publix, Target, and Costco.
Chuy's restaurant plans to hire about 170 staff members for its first Knoxville location set to open July 31. Chuy's is setting up a hiring trailer at 9235 Kingston Pike and will accept applications in-person from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. starting Monday, June 18 through Saturday June 30.
While all of the job expansion in Knoxville is certainly positive news, economic experts say the jobs being created are not the types that generate a real dent in unemployment.
"What you'll see in all likelihood is a little less employment at other
firms around the Knoxville area and more at the Publix and the Target
store next door," said Dr. Bill Fox with the University of Tennessee's Center for Business and Economic Research. "But jobs at a place like Publix will be very important to the people who get them, so it is important to keep that in mind."
Fox said jobs at market and retail tend to provide a barometer for how the economy is doing rather than actually influence the economy.
"People don't generally start to spend more money and create more wealth when a new retail store opens. Mostly we're going to redistribute where sales take place from one set of stores to another set," said Fox. "What you do get is an economic boost from construction jobs, but that is short-term."
Fox pointed out the expansion of new businesses in Knoxville is a positive signal for the overall economic outlook of the area.
"What it means is investors and some big businesses around the country have looked at Knoxville and said, 'This is a good place to be a part of. We think the economy is good, we think the economy is growing,' or else they wouldn't want to be a part of this market," said Fox.
In addition to the aforementioned employment events in Knoxville, a job fair will be held in Blount County on June 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several Blount County and Knox County employers have registered to attend the job fair, which is sponsored by the Army National Guard. The event will be held at the Tennessee Air National Guard Armory, 1721 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, in Maryville.