Economic status better than most

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By James Roberts

Taylor County seems largely untouched by the nationwide economy's downward spin. The unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the region and two companies have located in the county this year.

"Taylor County has been very blessed," said Ron McMahan, executive director of Team Taylor County. "In September 2008, we had the lowest unemployment rate of all the counties surrounding us. We also have the lowest unemployment rate of any county in our planning region, the Lake Cumberland Area Development District."

According to the Workforce Development Cabinet, as of September, Taylor is among the counties with the lowest unemployment rate in the Lake Cumberland Area Development District at 6.0 percent. Taylor County's rate is a bit higher than last September's rate of 5.1 percent.

Of Taylor's adjoining counties, only Casey County had a lower unemployment rate in September - 5.5 percent. Green County had the highest rate with 8.2 percent.

In September, 12,835 Taylor County residents were working, according to the Workforce Development Cabinet, a decrease of about 2 percent from last September.

Casey County saw the biggest drop with the number of employed residents, slipping 3.5 percent to 6,905 from last September.

"The local industries I've talked to haven't indicated any significant layoffs of full-time employees," McMahan said. "Most companies have adjusted to the slowing global economy through layoffs in their temporary workforce, combining shifts and through attrition."

Others are hiring, McMahan said.

"UpStream is currently hiring new full-time employees. Amazon.com is now hiring temporary help for the Christmas season."

Though the News-Journal received several calls and e-mails about layoffs at Cox Interior in Campbellsville, no one from the company returned phone calls to confirm or deny the rumor.

The county also welcomed two new industries earlier this year - INFAC Corp. and Fluortubing USA.

INFAC Corp., a South Korea-based automotive cable and electronics manufacturer, announced plans to open a new facility in Campbellsville in July. The company expects to hire 75 people within the first two years of operation.

Company officials expect to soon begin manufacturing emergency brake cables at the 52,500-square-foot facility, located in the Campbellsville Industrial Park.

INFAC, established in 1969 in Ansan, Korea, also operates seven manufacturing plants in Korea, China, India and Turkey and has affiliates in Japan and Europe.

The Campbellsville operation marks only its second North American facility. The company has a sales and engineering office in Michigan that opened in 2005.

A leading producer and worldwide supplier of automotive parts, INFAC provides products for several vehicle manufacturers, including Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu, Mazda and Honda.

In August, Fluortubing USA announced it would open a manufacturing facility in Campbellsville. The announcement coincided with news that the company will manufacture tubes to be used on NASA's Mars probe to be launched in 2010. The company expects to hire 25 initially.

Fluortubing USA, a manufacturer of Polytetrafluoraethylene (Teflon(r)) plastic tubing, will move part of its manufacturing operations to Campbellsville from its subsidiary company - Fluortubing B.V. of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The $1.1 million investment allows the company to move from distributing into manufacturing. It is located in the 48,000-square-foot former Air Safety building on Industrial Drive.

Fluortubing's products are used in biopharmaceuticals, chemical synthesized pharmaceuticals and chemical processing as well as in automotive, aerospace and many other products in North America and Asia.

The economic situation has delayed Fluortubing's Campbellsville launch.

"We're delaying some of big project expansions until the first quarter of 2009," said Jack Wisdom, Fluortubing USA president.

As a result, Wisdom said the company is watching expenditures and had to let go one warehouse employee-in-training.

Meanwhile, plans are still on track to move in some equipment and two employees are currently in Holland undergoing training, Wisdom said.

McMahan said Taylor County's diversity will help it weather the economic storm.

"Our diversified and stable economy has somewhat sheltered us from the financial downturn. We have faired better than most of Kentucky and the U.S. in the current economic climate. We no longer have an economy solely dependent on manufacturing. Our community is fortunate to have a regional hospital, a university and several large employers in the service sector."

- Staff Writer James Roberts can be reached at 465-8111 Ext. 226 or by e-mail at writer@cknj.com. Comment on this story at www.cknj.com.