John Hollenhorst ReportingA gigantic new warehouse isn't even finished yet near Grantsville. But already, hungry job seekers are lining up like it's another Gold Rush. With a warehouse that big, it must be Wal-Mart! But it's not a store; it's a regional distribution center serving dozens of Wal-Marts.
Everything about the Wal-Mart distribution center is big, including the enthusiasm of job-seekers. There are lots of jobs available. But there's a much higher number of people who want the jobs.
When you see the massive building, you can take your pick of impressive numbers -- 1.2 million square feet, 28 acres, 700 jobs, a 5 percent boost for Tooele County.
Jim Robson, Workforce Services Economist: “In Salt Lake County to get an equivalent job increase you’d need 26,000 to 30,000 jobs.”
It’s no wonder then that months ahead of Wal-Mart's official opening Tooele County, residents are lining up to apply. The word just got out a few days ago; already 2,000 people have applied for 700 jobs.
Vint DeGraw, Tooele Employment Center: “The unemployment rate in Tooele County is the third highest in the state.”
Starting pay is about $11.40 an hour. With benefits, those are considered good jobs here.
Deni Krotts, Grantsville Applicant: “Yeah, they are, I would rate them pretty high actually, for around here. It’s better than fast food jobs.”
There are worries about how Grantsville's small-town atmosphere will be disrupted.
Chip Ward, Grantsville Resident: “Our anxieties are usually about businesses closing and losing jobs and being hit that way. This is the first time I’ve heard anxiety expressed about succeeding and getting jobs.”
When the center is in full swing, close to 400 trucks a day will be pulling in here. If you do the arithmetic, that means a semi will be coming or going on average about every two minutes, around the clock.
Chip Ward, Grantsville Resident: “I would say more than intimidating, it’s scary. If it all comes and goes out on the west side of town I think we’ll be okay.”
That's a secondary issue to Cathy Eagle, whose husband currently earns $8 an hour.
Cathy Eagle, Grantsville Resident: “As soon as he can get on out there, it’s worth the traffic and everything else if you ask me.”
To apply, go to any office of Utah's Workforce Services. You can follow the link at the top of this story to their web site.