(Clinton, KY July 25, 2012) – Local officials met yesterday with Governor Beshear to discuss economic development efforts in the wake of 200 more factory jobs being lost in the area. County Judge David Gallagher of Fulton County and Hickman County Judge Greg Pruitt traveled to Frankfort with area economic development officials to discuss dim job prospects for the two most western counties in the Commonwealth.
There have been a series of factory closings and layoffs in the area. Goodyear Tire in Union City Tennessee laid off thousands of workers in February 2011. Approximately 150 of those lived in Fulton and Hickman Counties. To add to the misery, local farmers are facing the drought of the century and the Port of Hickman remains silted up and closed because of low water levels on the Mississippi River.
On May 18, 2012, Ferry Morse Seed Company located in Fulton Kentucky laid off its entire workforce of 200 when it was sold to Seed Holdings. According to online reports, workers went to lunch – then came back to find themselves unemployed. Ferry Morse had been in business since 1856. The news also came as a shock to local officials.
A press release from the Governor’s Office quoted Governor Beshear's optimism in the face of another blow to the area’s already fragile economy.
“This is a temporary setback for Fulton and Hickman counties, but we will move forward and seek other opportunities to bring jobs and other companies to the area,” said Gov. Beshear. “I am pleased to hear about the proactive steps being taken by the area’s economic development leaders. We fully support these communities, and will exhaust every effort to grow the economy and help bring jobs to the region.”
Fulton County had the highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth in May 2012 at 19.9%. The state average was 8.1. Hickman County matched the state average at 8.1%. The national average is 7.9%
Governor Beshear will be visiting Germany and France in the coming week. While there, he will have an opportunity to tout the benefits of Fulton and Hickman Counties. According to the press release, “Fulton and Hickman counties offer many advantages for businesses, including close proximity to major markets, nearby interstates, railways, and Mississippi river access.”