Lenawee County remains high in unemployment numbers (18.2 percent in July) and led the state in workforce reductions with a decline of 900 individuals.
If new jobs aren’t created, the exodus of residents from the county will continue, said Lenawee Economic Development Corporation president Jim Gartin, and that will continue to weaken the local economy. Most alarming is the loss of skilled tradespeople and youths—the foundation and the future.
“Without a strong workforce, we will lose whatever opportunities we might have in the future to attract and grow existing companies,” Gartin said. “We need a qualified workforce to support growth.”
Gartin has scheduled four town hall meetings in the next few weeks to help identify and attract jobs.
Job loss creates consequences for an array of county and local agencies, services and businesses.
• Social services are called upon, at an alarming rate, to fill the gap for unemployed families and individuals. How can organizations like United Way continue to provide the needed support to our community, when the base of employee deductions has been eroded?
• Housing, food, medical services and the basic essentials are all in demand and in short supply. Hospital emergency areas are being used as primary care facilities by patients with no health care and no way to pay.
• Retail and service sector areas are down and trying to hold on, due to declining discretionary funds.
• Housing is struggling, values are down, sales are reduced and delinquencies and foreclosures are still at all-time records.
• Municipalities are struggling to provide services due to reduced state revenue sharing and declining property values.
• Public schools are seeing reduced state pupil head count revenue, declining property values and competition from private and home schooling activities.
The list of job-related consequences goes on, Gartin said, and the town hall meetings will attempt to reverse the trend of job losses.
• Adrian Area: 7 p.m. today, Thursday, Sept. 10, at LEDC’s offices, 5285 W. US-223, Adrian;
• Tecumseh Area: 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at City Hall, 309 E. Chicago Blvd., Tecumseh;
• Blissfield Area: 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at Riverbend Timber Framing, 9012 E. US-223, Blissfield;
• Hudson Area: 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Community Center, 323 W. Main St., Hudson.
There is no cost to attend, but registration is required and can be made by calling the LEDC at 517/265-5141. More information is available at the LEDC website: www.onelenawee.org.