Burke County Scores Poorly on Jobs and Health Rankings in Georgia

Burke County Scores Poorly on Jobs and Health Rankings in Georgia (Image 1)

One of Georgia's largest counties, Burke County, has one of the state's worst health rankings according to a recent study.

To make matters worse, Burke County also has one of the state's worst unemployment rates.

More than 20, 000 live in Burke County. But only about 9,000 of them actually take home a paycheck.

“Lots of people live here but they go to work in Augusta, North Augusta, Statesboro. There are no jobs in Burke County,” said retailer, Sun Patton.

From retail stores to restaurants, Burke County business owners are feeling the pinch and blame it on the poor job numbers.

“There are so many people but no jobs, and no money. So business is slowing down and every year it seems like it is getting worse and worse,” said Patton.

While the state's unemployment rate continues to goes down, Burke County's unemployment rate has soared over the years. It's now at 12%, which is nearly 30% higher than Georgia's average.  

“There is no job period. Either its fast food or everyone is making minimum wage,” said Patton.

It's a double whammy for Burke County. Not only does it have the state's highest unemployment rate, it's also got of the poorest health rankings. That's based on things like the mortality rate, the number of fast food restaurants and the availability of clinical care.

“I think Vogtle hasn't taken off quite like everyone thought it would but I think it will,” said realtor, Jaymie Morris.

With Plant Vogtle's expansion adding 5,000 temporary jobs and 800 permanents jobs – people are hopeful that it will boost the local economy.

“More jobs and more industries would bring more people in and would increase people needing homes locally,” said Morris.

“We used to have 4-5 employees but not anymore. We can't afford that,” said Patton.

The February unemployment rate for Burke County was the 23rd highest rated among Georgia's 159 counties.

And when it comes to health rankings, McDuffie and Taliaferro County also scored among the worst.  Interestingly, Columbia County ranked in the top 10 for health scores.

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