published Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

TVA sees years-long jobs recovery

After four years of declining job additions from new investments in the Tennessee Valley, TVA reported a gain in new jobs and investments in 2010 and continued signs of improved prospect activity.

“We’re glad that it looks like the economy is beginning to turn around,” TVA President Tom Kilgore said.

But the recovery may take years before all of the jobs lost in the previous three years come back in the seven-state Tennessee Valley, according to TVA’s top business recruiter.

“We do have a bit of uptick, but it isn’t huge,” said John Bradley, TVA’s senior vice president for economic development. “I do think we are beginning to see a few more projects break loose as more companies begin to move through their business plan as the economy improves. But we all wish it was even stronger.”

TVA worked on $4.3 billion of projects that kept or maintained 40,899 jobs in fiscal 2010. Investment was up from $4.2 billion the previous year and the job count was up nearly 60 percent from 2009.

Much of the reported gain in jobs in 2010, however, reflects the way TVA counted its employment additions last year compared with previous years.

Last year, Bradley said TVA began counting jobs saved or added at existing businesses in the Valley through TVA’s enhanced existing industry programs. TVA estimates its work with businesses already in the Valley helped to either add or preserve 12,520 jobs at existing companies in 2010.

Previously, TVA focused upon and counted primarily just jobs from new industry recruited to the Valley.

In 2007 through 2009, TVA led the nation in landing four billion-dollar-plus business investments, including the $1 billion Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga; the $1.45 billion Wacker Chemical plant near Charleston, Tenn.; the $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor plant near Clarksville, Tenn.; and the $1 billion Toyota plant near Tupelo, Miss.

“We’ve seen fewer, but bigger deals,” Bradley said.

In December 2010, Tennessee landed two of the biggest new job generators in the country: Amazon Corp. plans to add 1,476 full-time and up to another 2,500 part-time employees at distribution facilities it is building in Hamilton and Bradley counties.

Electrolux, the Swedish appliances giant, plans to relocate some of its kitchen-appliance manufacturing operations from Canada to Memphis to create more than 1,200 jobs.

Despite such gains, however, unemployment across the TVA region ended 2010 with rates above 9 percent in all seven states.

Unemployment was above 10 percent in three TVA states — Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfrepress.com or at 757-6340.

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If it were me, I think I’d “siddown and shaddup” as Jimmy Carter’s mother once told him to no avail. Yes, TVA CEO Tom Kilgore just revealed something that TVA had been hiding since 2005. Looking over his 80,000 square-mile federal domain, “Tom Kilgore says it looks like the region's economy is starting to turn around.”

And just as the cock crows heralding the rising sun he thought he was bringing forth, so does TVA proclaim the recession is over. The rooster may keep his reasons to himself, but the TVA boisterously crows at just about any and everything.

This time, letting the cat out of the bag, Kilgore says that despite the unemployment rate of over 10% in most of his territory, the number of jobs the utility helped create rose last year for the first time since 2005. What? Even after all of those glowing remarks about how many jobs TVA has “saved”?

Quoting your article, “TVA's economic development efforts helped attract or retain 41,000 jobs. The size of the increase is partly due to TVA changing the way it counts jobs. For 2010, 12,500 jobs were saved or added at existing businesses.”

This is one of the oldest of TVA tricks; they just change the numbers so they look good for TVA. Of course, TVA never explains how they jigger the numbers. (TVA’s Green Power Switch program numbers for example just do not add up.)

There are 9 million people under federal price controls for electricity in TVA’s territory; TVA is a $10 billion collector of those set rates and yet TVA tries to squeeze out some paltry numbers by changing the way it counts jobs. Brush it off as just more hype? That’s one of the problems; people are not looking enough behind TVA’s rhetoric, its tissue of lies, obfuscations and fraud.

How would I know, you might say? Well, I have been researching TVA for years and the game winds up at the same place every time, TVA releases only what they want the public to know while often glossing over the other half of the truth, the whole truth.

Can something be “partially true”? For TVA, that’s a way of life.

Ernest Norsworthy http://norsworthyopinion.com emnorsworthy@earthlink.net

March 8, 2011 at 3:27 p.m.
NoMyth said...

It does seem odd for a utility to take credit for the jobs that other businesses have created. It seems that these companies decided to locate here due to their businesses expanding in response to demand for their products. They probably located in Tennessee because of the low wages. Also, I seem to recall the former Governor playing a key role in recruiting many of these companies, but no mention of it here.

March 8, 2011 at 8:36 p.m.
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