Keep the momentum going

Published 9:39 am Friday, February 1, 2013

The good news is the national unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8 percent, its lowest since the American economy went south five years ago.

The bad news is that there are still too many people — especially in Franklin where the jobless rate is 10.2 percent — who are without jobs or not making as much money before the recession.

We see the lower national unemployment rate as a concrete example that the country is feeling more confident about the future. Naturally, the hope is that this is not a temporary number that will rise again next month.

On the bright side, companies in Western Tidewater that have either hired or are looking for more employees include:

• The $91 million Enviva Pellets Southampton under construction at Turner Tract Industrial Park in Southampton County, which is expected to start up in late 2013 and create 72 jobs.

• International Paper, which has been repurposed to make fluff pulp and employs 200, many being former IP workers.

• Green Mountain Coffee Roasters at the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park in Windsor, which plans to hire 800 to make single-serve portion K-cup packets for the Keurig brewing system.

• ST Tissues in Franklin, which plans to hire 85 for its fiber recycle and tissue mill.

• The Children’s Center in Franklin, which created 95 jobs thanks to a $2.3 million contract for the Head Start program in Franklin, Courtland, Smithfield and Suffolk.

So things are looking up.