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Ringing out the old and ringing in the new is a common practice as we say good riddance to the bad of a previous year and hope for good in the new one.
It’s real encouraging to start a new year off with some good news. Believe it or not, we have some good news in Lancaster County.
Just before Christmas, we reported that four local companies expect to hire hundreds of people this year.
That’s music to the ears of the chronically unemployed. And with double-digit unemployment in Lancaster County, we have the chronically unemployed. Some have been unemployed so long they’ve run out of benefits and exhausted their savings and 401k’s. Many have lost their homes and transportation. Some of those chronically unemployed, who in the past supported HOPE in Lancaster, now seek assistance from the organization that helps the county’s needy, said Elaine Adkins, HOPE director.
The creation of more jobs in the county is welcome news. The four companies creating new jobs are Proctor & Gamble Duracell, Nutramax, SOI Corp. and Metso Power.
Duracell on S.C. 9 Bypass announced that it was adding 52 new plant technician jobs. Keith Tunnell, president of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corp., said Duracell’s creation of new jobs is a good sign for the local economy.
“They’ve been pretty level on employees during the recession, so for them to add 52 jobs is welcome news,” Tunnell said.
He said the Duracell jobs are also well-suited to former employees of ZF Lemforder, an automotive suspension company that closed its Lancaster plant last year and moved to Georgia. Many of those employees went through additional training and would be good candidates for some of these new job positions.
Nutramax Labs, which moved into the Lancaster Business Park in 2010, has already hired 20 people, but plans to add more as it refurbishes the former ZF building. In the next six to nine months, Nutramax plans to hire a total of 225 employees. Some former ZF employees have also found jobs at Nutramax, which recently hired eight people for supervisory positions.
Strategic Outsourcing Inc., a personal employer service that held its grand opening in November, is hiring for several positions. Located in Indian Land’s Edgewater Corporate Center near U.S. 521 and S.C. 160, SOI is hiring employees who have accounting, payroll, human resources or other office experience. SOI expects to hire between 60 and 80 people within the next eight to 12 months.
Metso Power, also located in the Lancaster Business Park, is hiring and testing for welders and has an opening for a quality control manager. Metso Power manufactures boilers and other components for pulp, paper and power industries.
The trend now is for companies to add new employees and begin small expansion projects, Tunnell said.
“It looks like the economy is turning the corner,” Tunnell said. “Instead of companies laying people off, they’re adding them on.”
Creating more jobs opportunities is the way we like to start 2011. We hope there are more to come. Then we can truly have a Happy New Year.