- Cullman, Alabama

May 30, 2013

Bringing back the economy

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — The economic picture across the United States is beginning to smooth out for many Americans.

Employment appears to be on the upswing, housing prices are going up, and stocks have been reaching record highs.

In fact, a survey by the Conference Board says consumer confidence has topped 76 percent, which is quite a leap over recent years and months. The same survey says consumers are also confident about the next six months, which is expected to increase spending in the economy and growth in hiring.

Let’s hope that speculation comes true. The American marketplace since the onset of the Great Recession has been unnerving. Massive borrowing at the federal level and years of layoffs have left many Americans gloomy over the future.

Economists also note that much of the confidence gain is among more affluent Americans, even though hiring is on the increase at all levels. The economy has added 208,000 jobs a month since November, which is well above the average of 138,000 a month for the previous six months.

The nation’s weakness remains the massive amount of jobs that have been shipped out as part of the global economy. Manufacturing jobs at various pay levels have been outsourced to the point of making some communities into ghost towns.

Some states, such as Alabama, have found success in bringing jobs back through investors from other countries. The search for wider markets for state-produced agricultural products is also enjoying some success.

One of the keys to unlocking the economic future in the United States continues to be a reduction in nagging government burdens, while providing states and local communities more flexibility in recruiting investments. Alongside this need is greater control in public education at the state and local levels. Improving the success rate at schools will create a more able work force to contend with the ever-competitive job market.