Don't look for Boeing to land in Greenwood County. Or anywhere in the Lakelands, for that matter. And while our neighbors along the coast clamor for more Boeing — and we hope they succeed — we cannot shrug at the economic development progress that has been and continues to be made in our region of the state.
Whether it is a project involving the expansion of an existing industry (Project Rooster, as it's called by Partnership Alliance) or a wholly new project (Project Pine), headway is being made, and that is to be lauded and applauded.
Every step counts, from the potential 70 jobs Project Pine is purported to bring, to the 300-plus jobs Colgate-Palmolive's plant will bring to the area.
Couple these various industrial announcements with the continued growth we see of retail businesses, and it is hard not to get a little excited at the prospects of a much lower unemployment rate and a more robust economy looming on the horizon.
The growth is not fast enough for many residents, especially those who have been on the unemployment rolls for a year, or even longer. Certainly, our Realtors and homebuilders would like to see growth going sky high at rocket speeds, but really, who can balk at slow and steady? Greenwood County in particular, while cursed with some horrendous unemployment levels since 2008, can and should start counting its blessings as it is becoming home to brand new businesses and industries.
Growth spurred by the opening of new small businesses and grocery stores, such as Publix, is a good sign. It indicates these businesses have done some homework and recognized Greenwood County is on an upward, not downward, spiral. Again, maybe it's not at the rate many of us would rather see, but it is growth nonetheless. Greenwood County is worth investing in, is what the recent indicators seem to reflect.
It is hard to believe we are coming to the close of yet another calendar year, a time people pause to reflect on the past and ponder the future. As things stand right now, we have a good feeling going into 2014. This past year brought about some steady growth and, thankfully, it appears 2014 will provide more of the same.
It will not be so for everyone, but, in general, we think people will be able to raise a glass Dec. 31 and toast the year that is about to arrive as a happy new year.