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Positive signs for the local economy

POSTED: August 11, 2013 8:00 a.m.
 

A couple of pieces of bright economic news over the past week lead credence to the notion that while we certainly haven’t emerged from the financial doldrums of the past few years, there is at least some cause for hope on the horizon.

On Aug. 1, county officials heard a report that indicates impact fees collected in 2012 showed significant gains over previous years, a dependable indicator that the pace of development in the county is picking up.

Impact fees are charged to developers based on the scope of their projects in order to help offset potential infrastructure costs related to new growth.

In 2012, the county collected about $3.4 million in impact fees, a total that was almost as much as the previous two years combined. The big jump in impact fee collections suggest that developers who not so long ago may have been reluctant to move projects off the drawing board and onto the ground are now cranking up the bulldozers and signing up the subcontractors.

That’s definitely good news for a construction industry that is vital to the overall economic wellbeing of any growth area.

A resurgence, even of limited scope, in construction may also play a role in the second bit of positive news this month. Numbers released last week show the county’s unemployment rate for June was 6.9 percent, well below the state average of 8.6 percent, and the national 7.8 percent unemployment figure.

Forsyth’s jobless rate, one of the lowest in the state, was solidly below that of other surrounding counties. A year earlier the county’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent. The county had the lowest rate in the metro Atlanta area for June.

While we certainly have felt the brunt of a years-long recession and economic slowdown, Forsyth has weathered the financial storm better than most communities in the nation. And now that there’s a hint of light at the end of what has been a dangerously dark tunnel, the county can be expected to prosper quicker than others.

There is no sign of an imminent return to the sort of boom times we took for granted not so long ago, but a, steady improvement in the local job market combined with renewed interest in development and construction are positive steps toward building on what is already a solid financial foundation.

 

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