EDITORIAL: Positive numbers in the local economy

CHICKASAW_Journal_BANNERIt is not spring yet but it looks like the local economy is growing.
Job market data in this week’s paper shows while we still have a lot of people out of work, the number of jobs in the county has grown. And while the most recent numbers indicate more people are claiming to be unemployed, there are more jobs in local factories and production lines and the paychecks they produce are strong.
We also want to point to construction data in Houston that indicates we are seeing a slight thaw in the construction sector. There are many retail jobs linked directly to the building, painting and furnishing of homes in Chickasaw County. We dare say a look at the people who live on your road or street will turn up a contractor or two who relies on the local construction market to pay the bills.
We want to stress that these statistics are more than just numbers. They are men and women, mothers and fathers who either do or do not have a job.
The idea of heading into the middle of winter without a job is frightening. It is the time of year when most businesses pull back rather than look to spring and plan ahead.
Payroll is usually the largest expense at most factories and it is the largest expense at small businesses, too. So we urge both the big boys and the little guys to think carefully about their hiring practices this month.
We hope most are optimistic and will see the need to add workers in anticipation of a new and more vibrant economy in 2013.
While we are talking about jobs in Chickasaw County, the factories and larger employers in this area are looking at global and national markets and economic numbers.
The December report painted a picture of a broadly improving national job market. Average hourly pay rose, providing consumers with more income to spend. The average work week lengthened, a sign that business is picking up and companies may soon need more workers. And hiring was strong across almost all major industries.
Manufacturing added 23,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing added 50,000 jobs. Retailers added 28,000 jobs. Even the beleaguered construction industry added 17,000 workers.
Holiday sales were solid across the state and Chickasaw County.
Many businesses say they are ready to step up hiring in early 2013 after seeing stronger consumer confidence and greater demand for their products.
Yes, Chickasaw County still has double-digit unemployment and the national economy is still soft, but we are please with the direction these numbers point.
We just hope those who determine hiring practices in Chickasaw County feel the same way.

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