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Hospital should be catalyst for economic growth

Jobs make for a healthy, strong county.

There’s no need for a lesson in economics, as the statement above is surely agreed upon by every businessperson, elected official and resident of Chilton County.

Like probably every other county across the state and country, we could use more jobs in Chilton County. According to the most recent unemployment figures released by the state, the jobless rate in the county for August was 6.1 percent.

The rate is an ever-so-slight decrease of 0.1 percent from July and a 0.5 percent decrease from August 2014’s rate of 6.7 percent.

The rate represents 1,184 unemployed residents, compared to an employment figure of 18,234.

We hope Chilton County’s economy doesn’t take a hit with a recent announcement from Johnson Controls that the company would be cutting 3,000 employees from its “global workforce.”

The reduction would represent 2.5 percent of the total number of employees.

The Clanton Advertiser was unable to confirm whether the local automotive parts manufacturing plant would be affected, but the announcement itself was a reminder of how tenuous the country’s economic recovery has been, and how a county’s economy can take a turn for the worse in a hurry.

Whatever happens at Johnson Controls, we continue to believe good things are on the horizon for Chilton County.

A “beam signing” ceremony will be held Oct. 8 at the site where construction is ongoing for the county’s new hospital, which will be called St. Vincent’s Chilton. As progress continues, and we look forward to the day when the county has its own hospital again, we encourage local leaders to build on the momentum that the hospital’s opening will surely create.

The new hospital will be the most significant economic development in the county in quite some time. Let’s work together to make sure that it is followed by much more good news–for the sake of our county’s future.