Unemployment Rate In Appalachia

Roof board

As the housing bubble has burst, I’ve been amazed to see how the housing/real estate market is woven into almost every aspect of our local economy. It’s as if the giant motor that was funding all of our lives has run completely out of fuel-leaving us stranded on the side of the road. County employees, lawyers, business owners, contractors, teachers, nurses, the list could go on and on-all left wondering if the motor will ever start again.

Over the past 10 years many of our manufacturing facilities have packed up and left for cheaper labor. Due to this-our local economy has centered around a booming real estate market and tourism-both decimated by the recession.

In last week’s local paper I was shocked to read the unemployment rate in my county is 12.7%. Cherokee County has a population of about 24,000 people-which isn’t that big-and when you subtract the people who are unable to work, retirees, and children the number is even smaller. 12.7% of the work force in my county-have no job. I just haven’t been able to get that number out of my mind.

In addition, the paper detailed what happened recently when 2 different industries announced job openings-one had 50 new jobs, over 500 people applied-the other had 15 assembly jobs available, over 300 people tried for those. Hard times indeed.

I’d like to dedicated this week’s Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot to everyone who has been effected by the economy. It’s a lovely song Pap wrote a few years ago, You Need A Savior. 

There’s that old saying about being in the know-unless you live under a rock-I would wager even the under rock dwellers have noticed the present state of the economy in some way.

Here at the Blind Pig-we feel as though the waves are lapping at the backdoor. What about at your house-has the downturn effected your family?


p.s. I’m curious to know what the unemployment rate is in your area-if you know tell me.

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  • Reply
    November 23, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Chas-thanks for the great comment! I so agree with you. Over the last 10 to 15 years most of the industry left my county-Cherokee-and all we were left with was the building/construction for second homes. Once the economic downturn started that came to a complete stand still-leaving no jobs for most folks.
    I guess you could say my county learned the hard way that building retirement homes is not the same thing as a growing industry.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Chas Fitzgerald
    November 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    If you failed to notice over the past several years that retirement and second home constuction and land sales was fueling the local economy in a big way then you must’ve missed all the billboards.
    The Asheville newspaper once grew to over 14 pages of real estate for sale. Now it is one third that and it is mostly foreclosure postings by buyers who find that their mountain side lots have dropped so much in value that it is not worth holding onto. One storefront in downtown Asheville represents over 140 GATED mountainside communities marketing to relocating retirees.
    We have to stop selling our sacred mountains for short term commissions and the hope that the new folks will spend the heck out of their retirement savings on services locally. If we want to attract more population then lets encourage them to at least populate our towns and cities where the infrastructure exists and the downtowns want foot traffic. We can re-invigorate our small towns and at the same time handle increased population and not have to build more roads and sewer lines and experience more slope failures.
    Retirement business is not an “industry” that is going to employ a lot of folks other than waitstaff and physical therapists. Time to wake up and create products worth something to outside of WNC, our music and our culture are part of this. Furniture and crafts certainly, but we can create much more than just decorative things for new mountain lodges and mcmansions.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    We’ve been blessed in that it hasn’t affected us too much, Husband is still working (for now!), but we have a lot of friends and neighbors that have been affected, a lot of construction workers out of work especially.
    Our county’s population is a little over 100,000 and the unemployment is 10.7% right now.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    March 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Tipper: Our unemployment rate in Ohio is 10.2%. I chose to retire then go into the ranks of the unemployed and I’m sure others my age choose that way also.
    The fellows did a nice job on the song.

  • Reply
    Farm Chick Paula
    March 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

    We haven’t felt the crunch any more than ususal (yet)… but then, money is always tight around here! LOL
    I think bigger cities are feeling it the worse… Knoxville just down the road is really in a bind since the housing has gone belly-up… so many new homes have gone up over the past 20 years, and I mean BIG homes- in the $350-$500,000 range. Some people just bit off more than they could chew, if ya know what I mean!

  • Reply
    March 24, 2009 at 1:33 am

    ohhh dear it’s bad bad bad…
    my husband and I do a radio show together husband wife team of craziness…we lost our job back in NOV 08, I made good money so to go and find a job that pays me $8.00 won’t cut the mustard ….not with our home (bought in June 08) yikes! our contract was up in Feb ….so when they let us go we got a lawyer to check out the contract and we did get paid till feb …THANKS BE TO GOD! but I am on unemployment have to, I have 2 children and that would be sick to get a daycare to watch them ….all my money would go to them.My hubby is a part time Auto broker when He does not have a radio job he goes FULL TIME…so tahts what he is doing right now. He ia fair good honest guy…so he gets Nice people Good cars at auction for 1000’s$$$$ less.
    we never give up!!! pray, move forward…pray some more 🙂

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 23, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    What a great talent; both of them. And what a song writer Mr. Wilson is. The song “You Need a Savior” is a wonderful piece of art and listening pleasure.
    Our current situation recalls a sage comment:
    “An election has come. Universal peace and love is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the chickens”… TS Eliot

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    March 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Nice song Tipper. The jobs are scarce everywhere.I think about 9% here…

  • Reply
    March 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Hi …yes unemployment is on the rise here (Eastern Canada) and many folks are having very difficult times and it affects each of us.
    Enjoy your pickin and grinnin …the music makes the day better. No daffys yet here …still have snow…however it is leaving slowly then will come crocuses and daffodils,etc. And I too have heard daffodils called jonquils but sorry have no answer as to why. Happy Day!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    SO, Oregon just increased by 1% in their unemployment rate last month alone – we are now over 10% unemployment in this state.

  • Reply
    Rick M
    March 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    The State of Georgia is at 9.3% and here in Catoosa County it’s at 7.1%. My wife and I still have our jobs but were living like one of use has lost there job. We have been cutting back on all kind of things.Also that is a great song Thanks.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 22, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Things seem to be tough all around. All I have to do is go to the grocery store and it is obvious. The guardians we appointed haven’t done a very good job of looking out for our best interest. I had an email from an old friend yesterday telling me to Google 9 12 project and see what people are doing about it.
    I am retired, so my job is not threatened but I am looking for a place to sell some pictures to supplement my income. I feed five furry dependents!
    Great song Pap wrote. Their voices harmonize beautifully!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Great song! The words are very comforting. Times are tough. Our little company is a third of the size it was a year ago. We all just took another pay cut (I’m making about 60% what I was making a year ago) but that’s okay. I still have a job and my husband still has a job. It may get worse before it gets better…but it will get better.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    We are still hovering around the 8% mark. But, I expect it will go higher soon as several factories around us are laying off workers.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Times are tough all over the place, some places tougher than others. I wonder what will come of it all, what will be some obvious changes in the majority of us?

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Hi Tipper, yes, jobs are hard to find. Here, instead of waves, I hear the wolf howling and am afraid of the day he comes howling at the door.Blessings,Kathleen

  • Reply
    noble pig
    March 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I know, it’s heartbreaking to think of those under the stress of not having work and feed their families with no sign of recovery. Who knows where we are headed.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    March 21, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Morning Tipper! Am so sorry to hear what your county is experiencing; an echo of what is happening all over.
    As a writer, I’m in the same situation I have been with the highs and the lows, and for that reason, have always been careful with finances.
    I truly believe, Tipper, that as a loving and caring people we will come together for financial and emotional support, and wiser and shout louder when we see injustices anywhere.
    We’ll come through! The pendulum always swings!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Our county has been hard hit for sure. I don’t know what the actual rate of unemployment is, but from Dec 2007 to Dec 2008, our unemployment rate has gone up 85%!
    We live in an area that has boomed simply because it’s an extremely popular vacation destination and retirement location – so housing and tourism are our major industries and both have crashed.
    My husband is losing some days as a teacher and so over the next few paychecks, we’ll lose about $1000 (concentrated hit as this is not spread out over a school year).
    But, I remain optimistic. dave Ramsey does a national show on managing our money and had a call in show last week, “Why I am not participating in the recession” and folks called in from all over the country with accounts of their businesses booming better than ever in 2009, that their particular corner of America has not been hit too bad, or that because they don’t have a lot of personal debt, the temporary downturn in their wage is not going to be to hard to navigate.
    I liked hearing a positive story that day as the media has us all believing and thinking that we are sunk.
    Thanks for your positive spin on this too!

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    March 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I live in the same county as you and have made a good observation about the people of this area. Money, or lack there of, has not stopped us from living a “good” life. We are used to going without, getting by and making do. We will weather this bump in the road a lot better than most. We will be OK.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 8:42 am

    An update on our unemployment rate. An article in this morning’s paper says we’re now at 9.4% with double digits expected by the end of the year. 🙁

  • Reply
    March 21, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Here in central Ohio the unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, but a lot of Ohio counties are suffering much more. There was an article in the paper about it this week. In a couple of rural counties, it is 18 and 16 percent. Scary! Our daughter and son-in-law are both unemployed and we’re helping support them.
    In Dublin, Ohio, which is a pretty wealthy town near Columbus, they hold an annual Youth Job Fair. This year the number of young people was double the usual amount. Most of them were told that there were no jobs and the ones normally filled by them were being given to adults with families. Very scary.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Well you know how it has affected me, lay-off. Rotating lay-off for The Captain starting soon.
    Not sure what the percentage of unemployment is here, but it can’t be good.
    Tell Pap I LOVED the song!!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I think I saw somewhere that Jackson Co., WV was around 5.2% as of Dec 2008. It’s probably up now, tho, because a large plant in our county just about closed down completely, I think they only kept a few maintenance people on. My son has been laid off for about a month now.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    March 20, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Unemployment is 6.7% here in Baltimore, but could go as high as 10% if things don’t turn around. It’s sad to see the greatest country in the world suffering depression-era statistics. I pray that things get better and that we will become stronger than we’ve ever been. God Bless America!
    Thanks for the great song Pap! You and Paul are tops in my book and can always make a day seem brighter with your music. This one really touched my heart. xxoo

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    [January stats]Unemployment here in Michigan was at about 12.5% statewide, and in my county-Muskegon it was 13.6%. Oceana County on the north border of Muskegon was at 18.4% unemployment, not a heavily populated county. The numbers really are not going down. It can’t help but hit home. Just gotta try to hang in there. I have a job, right now. Knock on wood.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    The downturn has caused me to slow down with spending and to be careful about future spending.
    The situation takes a huge bite out of my budget, though.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    March 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    The population in our county is aroun4 million. We have an unemployment rate at around 6%, I believe.
    It’s not too bad around here, but people are very cautious and the real estate market is starting to suffer because of it. It’s not anything like what other parts of the country are experiencing, but we have our house on the market so I’m a little sensitive to it.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Great song. I know as Americans we can use our God given talents to come up with new ways to make a living if we put or minds to it. The good Lord will help if we do what he says and trust him to see us through. I can’t see wringing our hands and waiting on the government to bail us out. They are the greedy Gus bunch that got us into this mess. Pappy

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    March 20, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Beautiful song!!!! Thank you.
    Yes, we’re feeling it here in our household.
    Your daffodils are pretty. Yes, I’ve heard them called jonquils.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

    HI. times are really tough here too. i live in west sacramento ca the unemployment rate is around 10%. luckily i still have a pretty good job but there have been layoffs. my friend suggests that anyone that could go back to school now may be a good time.

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