New workers a good sign for Rocky Mount

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The opening of a new business tends to draw a higher profile than the addition of jobs at an existing company.

But an expansion is just as important, in terms of economic growth, and longstanding companies often are better poised to weather tough economic times than a fledgling company that opens its doors for the first time down the street.

As Telegram business writer John Henderson reported this week, the Twin Counties added almost 3,000 jobs in 2012, a 
welcome sign that the economy is slowly beginning to rebound.

Certainly, we miss the employment offered by companies such as Merita, Sears and Best Buy – all of which closed during the last 12 months. And the Rocky Mount Metropolitan Statistical Area still has one of the higher unemployment rates in the state.

But Hospira and Cummins undertook significant expansions during the same period. Shops and offices began opening on the newly renovated Douglas Block downtown. And despite early fears that PNC’s purchase of RBC could put an end to hundreds of jobs, many of the RBC employees found new positions with the bank’s new owner.

The Rocky Mount area economy still needs new industries in new fields. Diversity is a strong component of a good economy, just as it is of a good community. But as we look back at 2012, local leaders can take some satisfaction in their efforts to preserve some of the more important resources we have.

The addition of almost 3,000 new workers is good news for the folks who landed those jobs – and for the area as a whole.