Monday, March 9, 2009

Bad moon rising: NewsChannel 5 profile of jobless rate in Maury County shows glimpse of ill future to come for Midstate, auto industry, small business

NewsChannel 5 reports tonight that the unemployment rate for Maury County almost doubled in January, to more than 15 percent, or nearly 6,000 workers.

While GM workers accounted for much of the rise due to a holiday shutdown at the Spring Hill plant, the rate also was fueled by small businesses like landscaping and garage door installers laying off one and two workers each. And these kind of layoffs add up fast.

A Maury County official tried to persuade that the downturn would improve when the GM Spring Hill plant returns to full operations in the spring and the economy rebounds at the end of the year. But reality dictates otherwise.

General Motors is headed toward closure. There is little support in Congress to rescue this money loser. And no matter how good the workers are in Spring Hill and the amount of new money invested there, the company's overall financial fate weighs most on any plant's future.

GM will not be able to pay its bills and workers by the end of the month. That's it, end of story for any business, factory and workers. And if you don't think something like that can happen, then you've learned nothing from these unprecedented times.

So that means Maury County's jobless rate will remain disturbingly high, and this economic trend -- steeply downward -- will spread around the Midstate as its dependence on the auto industry proves to be disastrous with declining consumer spending and investor confidence.

Good, comprehensive economic reporting such as that tonight on NewsChannel 5 will be needed to enlighten and encourage Midstate public officials to make decisions based on reality, not unsubstantiated and unsupported hopes.

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