After the closing of Piggly Wiggly in downtown Union; the impending departure of the Walt Disney distribution center from Jonesville; and an unemployment rate that stubbornly refused to drop below 20 percent, the announcement Dollar General will be hiring 70 full-time workers is good news indeed. It’s the kind of good news we hope to have more of as 2010 winds down and 2011 gets under way.
The greatest of all economic realities is that just as economic upturns are followed by downturns, so downturns are followed by upturns. The key is to be prepared for both so a community or business or household can ride out a downturn with minimum difficulty and be in a position to gain maximum benefit from an upturn.
Union County has been particularly hard hit by the continuing downturn in the economy but through it all we have continued to work to prepare ourselves to take advantage of the good times when they arrive. A case in point is the Advanced Technoloy Center which is training a local work force that will have the skills it needs to compete for the jobs provided by the employers of today and tomorrow. This effort has already resulted in 20 local residents being hired by Gestamp.
Now there’s 70 more new jobs on the table from another employer whose growth suggests, like Gestamp, it will be an important part of the local economy for many years to come. While Union County residents may not fill all those 70 positions — though we don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t — Dollar General’s announcement is a sign the economy may finally be starting to turn around. If that’s so — and we hope it is — then we as a community and as individuals must be ready to take advantage of it.
As a community, we must continue to push education and training and the cultivation of a business-friendly environment. As individuals we must take advantage of any and all available educational opportunities and develop the skills and habits that will make us attractive to employers like Dollar General, Gestamp, Timken, Sonoco and others.
Union County got some good news this week, news that is hopefully a sign of things to come. We should be thankful and the best way to do that is to be ready for more opportunities to be thankful.