updated 09:25 pm EST, Sat November 26, 2011
Apple's North Carolina datacenter shows divide
Apple's Maiden, North Carolina datacenter for iCloud and iTunes is doing little to help local business, a story from the small town has found. Although the state gave significant breaks to be chosen for the datacenter, the Washington Post found that the sheer efficiency of the server cluster has led to little improvement in the higher than average unemployment in the area. Only 50 workers are needed to run the datacenter full-time, and about 250 contractors are needed for security and other supporting work.
Many of those in the 3,400-person town of Maiden rarely even see the Apple workers, let alone qualify for positions inside. The rural location's normal business focuses on physical labor and often doesn't foster the skill sets that would be needed to work at the cloud computing building.
Town Manager William Herms argues that, even though Apple corporate pays 50 percent less in taxes than usual and personal taxes are down 85 percent, the boost to the tax base is helpful to the town as a whole. Officials have argued that most of the benefits will come in the long term, as datacenters from Facebook, Google, and others begin to create a technology hub in a previously quiet area.
Younger workers are so far the most likely to benefit, since they have a better chance at getting the needed education or of switching career paths. A consensus from those in Maiden, however, is that only the Fulbright family, which was paid $1.7 million to vacate its land for Apple's datacenter, was the clear beneficiary in the short term. Others in town have noted that the combination of the economy with the usual rural decline was still leading to very difficult conditions.
"[It's] the extreme of tough," hardware store owner Samantha Saunders told the newspaper.
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