Ashley Robinson, of Martinez, will be celebrating Labor Day as a member of Columbia County's labor force for the first time.
The 19-year-old, however, won't be spending Monday at her job as a team leader in-training at Great Wraps restaurant in the Mullins Crossing shopping center in Evans. Instead, she says her day off will be spent at a cookout and thoughts of her first job will be the last thing on her mind.
Robinson holds one of 1,460 jobs created in Columbia County between July 2005 and this July, according to the latest available records obtained from the Georgia Department of Labor.
"I love it. (It's) the atmosphere. I love coming to work, the employees are very friendly," she said, adding that on average she puts in about 35 hours a week along with taking 12 hours of classes toward her nursing degree.
Robinson's position in the service industry is fairly typical of the job growth in Columbia County, officials say. Development Authority of Columbia County Executive Director Zack Daffin said the job growth trends in the county lie in the service and retail sector, led by large retail developments such as Mullins Crossing.
"In general, certainly you can't argue the fact that more retail jobs have been created of late ... and to a lesser degree in manufacturing," Daffin said.
Even more retail jobs are on the horizon with Academy Sports and Outdoors set to open across Washington Road from Mullins Crossing on Sept. 27 and a new Lowe's store slated to open by January at the corner of Washington Road and Industrial Park Drive.
Carl Main, Academy Sports' vice president of advertising and marketing, said his company's new 76,000-square-foot store is in the process of hiring 130 to 140 full- and part-time positions.
In June, Lowe's officials stated in a news release the $18.5 million, 116,000-square-foot store will create 175 full- and part-time positions with most offering benefits.
Unemployment rates in Columbia County are up slightly to 4.4 percent in July from 4.2 percent in June, according to the state Department of Labor. Overall, unemployment rates have improved since last July when they stood at 4.9 percent.
Robinson said her job at Great Wraps will help her later in life when she begins her medical career.
Most importantly, she says, the job has helped teach her to be responsible.
"Going into nursing I have to take care of people and (this job) teaches me how to work together."
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