Getting back to work is key to turnaround

Published 1:13 am Saturday, September 18, 2010

Finally, after what has seemed like months upon months of bad economic news, some good news trickles our way.
Alabama Department of Industrial Relations director Tom Surtees announced Friday that Alabama’s August unemployment rate dropped to 9.2 percent, down half a percent from July.
That may not sound like much, but that number represents nearly 10,000 Alabamians finding work. That is significant.
Boil that number down a little further and you’ll find similarly good news for Marengo County. Exactly 50 local residents found work from June to July.
That the county has not added any new major employers recently shows that many of our smaller businesses, those who were hit hardest by recent crunches in the pocketbook, have begun to bounce back.
We’ve all heard how bad things are, and how much worse things can get.
I’m not an economist, but it’s hard to ignore the simple fact that people are heading back to work. Putting people back on the clock is the single most important factor in staging a lasting economic turnaround. It’s also a huge contributing factor to boosting national morale.
When a significant portion of the population is separated from their jobs, watches their retirement funding evaporate, or sees their home values shrink while their mortgage payments rise, it’s deflating.
Multiply that feeling by millions of people across the United States and you have a feeling of insecurity.
No one likes feeling like that. No one who works hard to achieve their goals and provide for their family deserves to feel like that. However, such is – or such was – the state of affairs.
Local jobless rates shrank approximately half a percent. Considering estimates show that a dollar spent in the community typically turns over three times, those 50 people in Marengo County that started work last month could provide a nice, albeit small, boost to their communities.
If we could consistently add 50 people over a series of months, we’re well on our way to righting the ship. And look at now compared to last year. We’ve already put more people to work in August 2010 than August 2009.
We’re headed in the right direction.
As we slog through what appears to be a receding tide of economic turmoil, it’s important to recognize these little victories when they present themselves.
Jason Cannon is the editor and publisher of The Demopolis Times.

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