Marion County's unemployment rate lowest in 30 years


Marion County’s unemployment rate is now at 4.9% and that is the lowest it’s been in over three decades, according to Julie Norman with the Marion County Economic Development Office.

"Marion County’s unemployment rate is now 4.9%....the lowest it’s been in over 30 years! And we are just slightly higher than the state average of 4.2%. Let’s get this good news out there," said Norman.

Marion County started seeing a rise in the number of people out of work in 2000 when Russell Stover closed it's doors.

It was the largest employer in Marion County with 836 employees.

Several other textile mills and factories soon shut down sending thousands to the unemployment lines.

By June 2001, Marion County's unemployment rate was at at 15%. Many families had to move away or make long commutes to find jobs.

In 2010, the county launched a campaign to turn around its struggling economy.

People traveling along U.S. 501 in Marion were met with a new landmark.

County officials painted the water tower at the Marion County Industrial Park into a beach ball.

County officials are adopting a new slogan, “It’s Just Right”, which can still be seen written on the tower.

Some said the campaign made a difference, but more needed to be done.

Norman said over the years the county has been more aggressive in trying to create opportunities to attract more industries.

Many people in the community told ABC 15 News they've seen the tide changing and they're overjoyed that the unemployment rate is significantly lower than it's been in nearly 20 years.

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