Editorial: Confidence measurement in question

Aug. 28, 2013 @ 10:17 PM

Two economic factors released this week leave us struggling to find optimism in the depths of reality.

According to a private research group’s measurement, a healthy national economy has an index rating of 90. Tuesday’s message from the Conference Board, a New York-based group that provides it, indicated we’re closing in on a 5½-year high with an 81.5 for August.

Nationally, that’s good news.

Locally, the news isn’t as good.

We learned Wednesday that Vance County was one of just nine with an increased unemployment rate for the most recent report for July. While our rate only went up one-tenth of a percentage point, 81 other counties had decreases.

With our city in the midst of a non-partisan election for half the City Council, we feel sure the Sept. 22 candidates’ forum will include hard-line questions for the candidates.

Granted, the council is a policy-making board in the operation of the city. But local politicians, here and elsewhere, have long held sway when it comes to the vitality of their respective communities. They do so through networking, and they do so through approval of dollars in programs.

Right now, our vitals are in need.

We need more businesses, more people hired and more solutions on how to make it happen. We don’t have a single problem that is insurmountable.

We’ve got several that require patience first, and keen strategy yet to even be developed.

There are positive signs around us. A new performing arts center is coming downtown, a few new businesses have sprouted up and we have some significant regional, national and international players hitting Interstate 85 and U.S. 1 from our business community.

The national report not-withstanding, nor the progress made since the end of the recession in 2009, we’re without the confidence locally that others are gaining nationally. We’re lagging behind in escaping dark days.

We need a boost.

Whether it comes from the city council or our county commissioners, our education community or our business development boards and officials, we need a game-changer. We need a play, a positive one, to turn the momentum and the energy.

We’re ready to make a contribution toward that index rating of 90.