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Economically Speaking

This is a new article that will be written, maybe twice monthly, about the economies of; our county, our state, our country and our world.

Hi my name is Ken Parsons and I am the director for the Garrard County Industrial Development Authority. For most of you who know me are aware that I have been a lifelong resident of our county. I taught for 27 1/2 years in the Garrard County School System and worked for five years for the federal government. I am not an economist by training but I am very interested in the creation of jobs and the overall improvement of the economy for Garrard County. In this article today I'll be talking about three things; first I want to talk about is, what does a director for the Industrial Development Authority actually do?

My job as director involves three things; overall promotion of all things Garrard County, helping existing businesses grow and developing new markets, and recruiting new businesses into the county. We, Garrard County, have 7,563 people that are eligible to be gainfully employed. Of that number 6921 are employed with 4891 leaving the county to go to work each day (source, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, and according to Ted Cox’s article in last weeks paper those unemployment numbers have improved in 2104.). We have 2,672 people that work here on a daily basis. Thank goodness for those jobs and the employers that provides a place for people to work here in this county. The thing that we need are for more jobs to be created and the best way to do that is through existing businesses.

Secondly, I want to mention government’s role in facilitating business growth. The government can be instrumental in several ways; by helping with the complex permitting system, helping businesses obtain tax adjustments and by helping with the training of new workers and retraining of existing workers. We sometime over look the fact that government can help bridge some gaps that businesses have to cross, such as foreign trade agreements. It just seems that all we hear is how government is an obstacle to business growth. With that being said governmental regulations can be cumbersome and hard to overcome especially for a small business. One of my jobs is to put potential business people in contact with agencies that can help their company work through those regulatory mine fields. Job creation is a function, primarily, of private equity and individual entrepreneurship with governmental oversight, regulations and workforce development providing a helping hand.

Third, let tell you that if I want a statistic to match the argument that I am making or the point that I am trying to make, I can find it somewhere. So, if I am telling you something, concerning economics are just about anything for that matter, I can get an opinion from some expert that will back up every word that I am saying. But if you want to make a point that would contradict my opinion then you can find an expert that will have a statistic or fact that can be completely opposite of the one that I am using and probably be just as valid. So, for clarity’s sake I generally will us these sources as references when writing an article; Bureau of Economic Analysis, Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. When I use these or any other resource, I will make sure to reference where I obtained the data. There are some wonderful resources out there for you to explore concerning our economy and I encourage you to take a look at them.

They call economics the, “Dismal Science”, and when I was in college my opinion was that who ever said that wasn’t far off with that observation. As I got older and I came to realize how important jobs were, not only to our fiscal well being but also our emotional well being. I have developed a new appreciation for economics and our monetary system. They say that losing your job generates the same emotional feelings as a death of a close friend or relative. We need jobs and business here in Garrard County. The question is; what kind of jobs and what kind of business?

So, there you have it for this week. I will try and get something into the paper every two weeks at least. Hopefully these articles will be informative and provoke some thought for our future here in Garrard County.