Job boom hits Chelsea

CHELSEA &8212; After Gail Ferrell of Inverness spent four years in an accounts payable position, she made plans to move to Florida and take care of her aging parents. But when those plans changed, she found herself still in Shelby County and in need of a job.

&8220;I had always heard it (Wal-Mart) was a good company to work for,&8221; Ferrell said. &8220;Before I was sitting behind a desk, but now I&8217;m around people all the time.&8221;

Ferrell is like many others in the county taking advantage of the numerous businesses moving into the Chelsea area.

Greg Minor is manager of the state employment service at the career center in Alabaster. Minor said in Shelby County it is a job seekers&8217; market. &8220;Obviously there are always people looking,&8221; Minor said. &8220;Employers have to work extra hard to attract job seekers; job seekers have the ability to weigh one option against another.&8221;

As of April, Shelby County&8217;s unemployment rate was at 1.8 percent, the lowest in the state.

Despite this constantly low rate, Chelsea Wal-Mart store manager Connie Holder said the company had no problem finding people to fill positions. &8220;We had more than 600 people apply,&8221; Holder said. &8220;Most were from Shelby County, but we also saw some from Sylacauga and Childersburg.&8221;

Wal-Mart is already one of the 10 largest employers in the county &8212; now adding 420 new employees at the Chelsea store. Other businesses springing up in the Chelsea area are adding more employment options as well.

Anytime Fitness, Selco Cleaners, Dollar Tree and The Shoe Department have already opened with Quiznos, Habeneros, AmSouth-Regions Bank, Verizon and Whataburger expected to open adding more job opportunities in the coming months.