The manufacturing industry's comeback is creating hundreds of jobs in northwest Georgia, and it comes at a good time.
"The International Vinyl Corporation, which is the IVC US, announced 200 jobs and $100 million dollars capital investment. That's actually going to be their second plant within Dalton, Whitfield County," said Andrew Carnes, the executive director of economic development with the Dalton Chamber of Commerce.
Carnes said IVC's plans mark the resurgence of the carpet capitol. Dalton citizens took a hard hit during the recession because of their dependence on the new construction market. Last month, the city's unemployment rate was still 3 percent higher than Chattanooga, officials said. Now, Carnes said Dalton hopes to become the flooring capitol.
"We would like to establish different sectors, not put all of our eggs in one basket," said Carnes, adding that they also plan to continue supporting existing carpet industries.
Engineered Floors is building a new plant south of Dalton. Plus, Shaw and Mohawk Industries both plan to expand as well, Carnes said. With all of the growth, jobs are expected to reach at least 2,500 over the next five years.
"(We were) starting at a 15, 13 percent unemployment rate during the downturn, and we've really kind of bounced back. (We're) right at 8 percent," said Carnes. "I think it's been a fantastic comeback for the flooring industry."
Another piece of good news during the recession recovery is federal money with the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership program. Northwest Georgia is a finalist for $100 million through the U.S. Economic Development Administration to invest in the region's manufacturing industries.
"It'd be a game changer. It really would be. It would be a game changer for this community and this entire area," said Carnes.
Area schools, like Dalton State College, feed graduates into the region's specialty, Dalton State administrators said. If Georgia gets that federal money, Carnes said others also stand to benefit.
"It would help out our school systems. It would help out our colleges. But also we could go to the extent of making this a more business friendly community, more so than it already is," said Carnes.
There's no set time on when the federal government will announce the winner of the manufacturing investment program.
Anyone who wants to apply for jobs with any of the companies is asked to visit their main offices.By Briona Arradondo