Local News

Tight Job Market Spells Trouble for County Governments

Posted February 23, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— Many county governments are in a panic. Good teachers, police officers, firefighters and EMTs are becoming hard to find.

The Johnston County School System used to get five applicants for every opening, but they now have trouble attracting attention for those positions. The county blames low salaries for the problem.

"[Students coming out of college] look at a beginning teacher's salary, which is $2,500 a month, versus a career in another field where the salary is much more lucrative," said the school system's Joyce Wade.

The tight labor market has given rise to what one EMT calls the "battle for personnel" between counties. Poor counties lose employees to wealthier areas that will often pay higher salaries.