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August 6--  The Director of the Georgia Labor Department Office in Vidalia believes the area generally has an adequate labor force, that the pay scale should be higher and that too many people are gaming the system when it comes to unemployment pay.

This area's unemployment rate is 5.4% compared to the statewide rate of 3.7% and Brenda MaCoy says that means there's enough labor here to support new industries, "I think we are prepared for that.  We have individuals going to the tech schools.  As we know, more is needed in the technical skills and we have seen that throughout the state."

MaCoy also told Vidalia Rotarians more than 4,000 people leave Toombs County everyday to work outside the county, "Over 4,000 are actually driving outside the area  to go to work.  We want to capture those individuals and pay them better so they won't leave to go outside.  We hear so many times,'We don't have anybody to work, we don't have the workforce,'  Well, obviously we have the workforce if 4,401 people are driving outside the area.  We've just got to find a way to capture those individuals to stay in the area," she said.

On the subject of fraud, "They have to be looking for work to draw unemployment benefits," she notes, but admits many people give lip service to job hunting and she wants them to be reported by prospective employers, "We have a fraud line that is set up.  We would like to know because it could be adjudicated and they could lose their benefits," she said.