Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bad Jobs? Bad for the Economy? Oompah.

From yesterday's edition of the The Morning Call:
Hundreds vying for jobs at Wal-Mart

So far, 960 people have applied for 276 slots at Rush Twp. store.

A Wal-Mart Supercenter being built in the shadow of the shuttered J.E. Morgan Knitting Mills in the Rush Township [PA] has drawn 960 applications in eight days for the 276 jobs expected when it opens in April, officials said.

About 62 percent of the jobs, which will pay $6.50 to $17.50 an hour, had been filled as of Tuesday, but that leaves 105 yet to be filled, store manager Mike Cranston said. Hiring will continue through March 5 and applications will continue to be accepted after that, Cranston said.

The supercenter, for which construction started in May 2006, is expected to open April 18, Cranston said.

The prospect of jobs has drawn lines daily at a temporary hiring sight that opened Feb. 5 at 14 N. Kentucky Drive, McAdoo. The center is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays to accept applications and give interviews.

The nearby Morgan Knitting Mills, for decades the top employer in the area, laid off 460 people when it closed in 2003, and eastern Schuylkill County has struggled to attract jobs to replace those cuts.

But the Wal-Mart and an adjoining shopping center to be known as Hometown Commons, being built at the site of the former Laneco and TJ Barts stores on Route 309, are expected to employ about 450 people when fully built, officials have said.

The centerpiece will be the 155,000-square-foot Wal-Mart, but the center will have 48,000 square feet of other local and national retailers, developers have said.

George Zamias of Johnstown, a partner in developer Tamaqua Associates, said he would announce the identities of other potential retailers once the Wal-Mart is finished. Zamias has predicted $10 million a year in payroll and $100 million a year in sales by the center.

''This couldn't have happened at a better time,'' said Mary Helen Durborow, 53, of Kline Township, who applied at the site Friday. Durborow said the hours she's been getting at her job as an office temp have been decreasing.

Not everyone was so welcoming of the center when it first was proposed nearly three years ago.

Tamaqua Area School Board and Schuylkill County rejected designating the area a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance zone, which would have provided $1.45 million in tax relief over eight years to make road improvements required at the site by PennDOT. The school board said developers often lead municipalities to believe they will not build locally without the incentives

But without tax breaks and despite opposition, the center broke ground in May.
You have to admire these "heroic citizens" group that are against jobs and local tax revenue.

HT: Exposing the Paid Citics

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