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Numbers give cause for hope

According to the Commerce Department, the economy in the United States grew 8.2 percent in the third quarter of 2003. That's some pretty good news for everyone.

It breathes new life into retail and commercial establishments hoping to overcome years of disappointing sales and production. Retail outlets are looking for their best holiday season in years. Manufacturing facilities are hoping to expand.

That's good news all around - despite what the Democrats and Republicans say to blame each other for the rough spots that still remain.

In Alabama, the latest unemployment figures for October 2003 don't necessarily reflect that. For Covington County, the figures don't reflect that either.

But that must be taken in perspective.

In Alabama, the overall unemployment rate stands at 5.6 percent. That's a better number than last year's 5.9 percent, and still better than the national unemployment rate of 6.1 percent.

In Covington County, the unemployment rate, as reported by the State of Alabama Department of Industrial Relations stands around 9.0 percent. Higher than the state average, but below the counties with rates hovering well above 10 percent - such as Washington County with 15.3 percent.

Again, it must be taken into perspective.

In the United States, we are moving away from a manufacturing-oriented society, at least for goods we commonly associate with our region. We are moving towards a service and scientific society, and in Covington County that's no different.

With the recently announced expansion of ServiceZone and Andalusia Regional Hospital, and Mizell Memorial Hospital, things are definitely looking up for Covington County.

We cannot take this one number of 9.0 percent and let it bring our souls down.

We must look to all of the positive growth that is already underway; and we must look to the potential growth that could come our way.

We have no doubt that it won't be long before Covington County's economy bounces back - just like our national economy.