Job strategies for rural areas planned

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett says he's encouraged for the local economy because of remarks by Tennessee's economic and community development commissioner last week in Cookeville.

"They're going to focus more, and as much as they can, on helping lure jobs to rural areas," Liggett said last week after hearing Bill Hagerty, the state commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, ECD.

Hagerty spoke at the 16th annual conference on rural development.

The commissioner has noted that Gov. Bill Haslam's administration has job creation as a top priority and, in a complex economy, no one solution will lead to recovery, so they're creating economic development strategies for each region of the state to make local economies stronger and help grow jobs.

Meanwhile, Liggett points out that creating jobs in Marshall County will help maintain the population here. It's a way to address concerns among families.

"No jobs for young people," Liggett said, "is what's heard in rural counties."

It's a recurring concern as sons and daughters leave their home town to get a job.

"Marshall County grew in population," Liggett said of the 14.4 percent growth rate from 2000 to 2010, and it's "because of our proximity to Williamson and Rutherford counties."

They were the fastest growing counties in the state during from 2000-2010.

"Other rural counties lost population," Lggett continued as he reflected on the impact of the ECD commissioner's comments about creating jobs in rural communties. "People left the farms to go to work in cities."

Marshall County experienced population growth throughout the county, the mayor said. But most of it was in the north end of the county where people have settled to have a rural lifestyle and affordable housing while they work in Davidson, Williamson and Rutherford counties.

"We hate to see them drive so far to work, but it seems like that's what's happening," Liggett said.