Local folks desperate for work

Published 9:22 am Friday, September 3, 2010

Within the first two hours of taking applications for 14 to 16 part- and full-time jobs at the new Tractor Supply Co. store on Tuesday, 80 had applied.

Interviews continued for another five hours Tuesday and seven hours Wednesday.

We do not know how many applied over the two days. However, at a rate of 40 applicants an hour — based on the first two hours — the number of applicants likely totaled in the hundreds.

Tractor Supply Store Manager Debra Smith wouldn’t say how much the jobs will pay, but indicated the pay scale begins at minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour in Virginia. There were two positions for managers.

The number of people who applied for the jobs at Tractor Supply shows how desperate some may be in hopes of finding work in Western Tidewater.

One applicant indicated he has been out of work for more than a year; he spent nine years with a tile company, but lost the job when the housing market slowed down.

Another applicant from Suffolk told The Tidewater News he works part-time elsewhere; he must be hoping for full-time employment.

The combined employment rate for Franklin and Southampton County, which have been hurt by the closing of the International Paper mill this spring, rose to 12 percent for July from 11.9 percent in June, according to figures released Wednesday by the Virginia Employment Commission.

When a region has 12 percent of its workforce without a job, jobs that start at minimum wage may not look that bad. But, there’s no way anyone could support themselves, let alone a family, on $7.25 an hour.

This isn’t a slam against Tractor Supply. This just shows how many local folks are looking for work.