Better than the year before.
Those are words that just about everybody enjoys hearing – and saying. Whether it’s about your finances, sports team, family status, health, academics, standing in life, etc., it always brightens your day when you find out this year is an improvement over the past 12 months.
That’s exactly the news that Johnstown Area Regional Industries gave this past week during its annual progress report.
“All statistics that we track on an annual basis were better in 2013 than the year before,” Linda Thomson, JARI president, wrote in her report. Thomson’s comments were read during a luncheon for stakeholders and the public at Mount Aloysius College.
Job creation and retention were highlighted among JARI’s accomplishments. It also bragged about the drop in laid-off workers.
We can’t fault JARI for wanting to crow about its accomplishments.
More than 250 new jobs were added to the Laurel Highlands region, and more than 2,400 small business jobs were retained.
That dovetails nicely with news from the federal Labor Department late last week that U.S. employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for four consecutive months. That pace, the labor department said, had not been seen since 1999.
Auto sales have inched upward, and manufacturing and service industries also have spiked, making consumers more confident in the economy.
Americans are beginning to breathe a little easier as the economy slowly starts to right itself.
But getting back to our little niche in the world, Thomson also told The Tribune-Democrat that 629 people were trained for various employment opportunities in the region.
That’s a credit to schools such as Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and Greater Johnstown Career and Technology, which have added classes specifically to retrain individuals to re-enter the job market.
And JARI’s Procurement and Technical Assistance Center brought in about $200 million in government contracts, mostly in the region’s defense-related industry. In fact, this year’s Showcase for Commerce, which recently wrapped up, announced more than $150 million in contracts.
But the best news for the region didn’t come from the defense section.
“The biggest story of the year was the (Route) 219 story,” Thomson said.
That project is expected to last five years.
“Thousands of jobs will be realized as a result of this new transportation corridor, both during construction and into the future,” Thomson wrote.
We anticipate new businesses springing up all along the new 11-mile corridor that will stretch southward from Somerset to Meyersdale.
As Alan Walker, state Department of Community and Economic Development secretary, said at the luncheon: “As the future unfolds, in 20 years, I want the nickname for Johns-town changed from the ‘Flood City’ to the ‘Recovery City.’ ”
That would please us, too. But it won’t happen by just sitting on our laurels. There is still a lot of work to do before Johnstown emerges from under the dark cloud of labor setbacks and economic woes.
However, with everybody doing his or her part, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen.
Better than the year before.
Readers' Forum 7-23 | Thank those who keep us safe
Summer tends to be a pretty big deal around here. It makes sense, given the winter we all lived through this past year.
High marks for new school | Conemaugh Valley built with taxpayers in mind
The Conemaugh Valley School District will offer an open house Aug. 1 at its new $14.3 million elementary school on William Penn Avenue.
We urge taxpayers to stop by and see the building.
After all, they paid for it.
Influence peddling in Pa. | Lawmakers take advantage of free trips
Thank goodness for watchdog groups – those panels that take it upon themselves to protect the public’s interest.
Readers' Forum 7-22 | Some heroes donate blood products, organs
Every day, someone steps up to become a hero. When one thinks of a hero, servicemen and women, or even first responders (fire, police, etc.), come to mind first. But I want to mention another type of hero:
Those who roll up their sleeves to donate blood or platelets, or mark an “x” on their driver’s licenses to become organ donors.
Joe Sestak | Congress may remove safeguards protecting seniors from fraud
A scam artist stops by your 92-year-old neighbor’s home and repeatedly convinces her to give him $200 on each visit for a “can’t lose” investment. Hearing about it, the local police persuade the scammer to end his fraudulent behavior, but then the city council orders the police to stop their interference with “free market” decisions. True?
- Readers' Forum 7/21 | Kids raise money for worthy cause
- Right choice could save life, even your own
Elisa Cekada, Adam Charles
Elisa Cekada and Adam Charles were married Nov. 16, 2013, at Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren, 856 Benshoff Hill Road, Johnstown.
- Readers' Forum 7/20 | Fireworks display is meant to honor our nation
- Laurels and barbs | July 19, 2014
- More Editorials Headlines
- Readers' Forum 7-23 | Thank those who keep us safe