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Knoxville Chamber says the city has more jobs than people can fill

Knoxville has thousands of job listings right now in industries like trucking, retail and healthcare.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The U.S. added nearly 390,000 jobs to its labor market in May, according to federal data. Experts said that's better than expected as fears linger of an economic slowdown due to high inflation and rising interest rates. 

With 11 million job openings nationwide, experts like Lauren Longmire with the Knoxville Chamber said workers have leverage when it comes to their work lives.

"We are seeing an influx in open positions," she said. "That has a lot to do with the fact that we're really growing so much and our population isn't growing at quite the same speed."

The Knoxville Chamber said there are not enough people to fill the number of job openings in the city. According to the latest data, the Knoxville area especially needs truck drivers, registered nurses, retail workers and people ready to work in the manufacturing sector.

"The need for even those has escalated by 25% at a minimum," Longmire said. "We have about 10,000 more people in the workforce than we did prior to the pandemic."

The same research shows the number of local job postings in the Knoxville area increased by 30.4% from March 2021 to March of this year.

Longmire said the increase takes the ball out of the employer's court and puts it into the hands of workers, who now have more leverage when it comes to finding jobs that fit their lives and their individual needs. 

Starting next year, ATC said they will hire about 200 people to begin remanufacturing hundreds of transmissions per day. The 70,000 square-foot plant in Clinton will be remanufacturing transmissions for Nissan, GM and Ford cars.

Right now, ATC is hiring about 45 employees and is looking to hire another 50 associates by the end of July for the day shift. The company plans on adding a second shift later this year. The company said it will have approximately 200 employees by this time next year.

David York, the ATC Plant Manager, said he's hopeful the company will be able to fill its open spots.  

"It's still very difficult to get the people you need," York said. "Everyone's got the same wages. Everyone's got the same benefits. What sets you apart is the work environment."

The company believes some enticements will also do the trick. For example, the company is offering immediate benefits and four-day work weeks. 

"The four-day, 10-hour shifts we think would help," York said. 

Meanwhile, the Knoxville Chamber is working on expanding its employee candidate reach throughout the community through schools. 

"We want to make sure our high school graduates and our college graduates are able to find jobs here locally so they can stay here and have a thriving career," Longmire said. 

ATC said it is offering competitive wages and benefits, with benefits starting on the first day. Anyone interested in a job with the company can apply online. Information about wages is available in some descriptions of several Knoxville positions, with some starting at $16 per hour.

They are searching for production technicians, warehouse technicians and manufacturing technicians.

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