“We continue to be a high wage level area,” Eysink said.
Marion County is fortunate in that it imports more people into the county for employment, than exporting local residents seeking employment in other counties. The study shows that most employees are willing to travel up to 20 miles one way to work.
“Our two communities are not bedroom communities,” Eysink said. She added that there is nothing wrong with being a bedroom community, but it is better to have employment available.
Knoxville Chamber of Commerce Board member Mark Raymie did not have time to thoroughly review the information before our interview. He believes the information will be helpful to the Chamber as it tries to develop an economic development strategy.
The Chamber Board is holding a “retreat” on Saturday, April 6. The laborshed study is expected to be one of the topics of discussion.
One of their goals is to make Knoxville a more attractive business environment. Raymie believes the Chamber’s role is maintain the manufacturing opportunities here, but also working to bring in all types of businesses. Relying on a single business, or type of business, is risky. Economic diversification is key to maintaining and growing the community. Raymie said diverse economies also attract more professional jobs.
“We need competition and more competition,” Raymie said.