Idea of community extends to economy

The economic news last week was dismal, to put it mildly. Various reports showed that growth in the nation’s manufacturing sector — which had been leading the economic recovery — is now slowing, while housing construction remains stagnant and consumers have been curtailing their spending.

All of the major stock indexes tumbled last week, and there was talk of a double-dip recession.

Worst of all, unemployment began to inch up again, to 9.1 percent in May, compared to 9 percent in April. This after employers added only 54,000 jobs in May, just a quarter of the 232,000 jobs created in April.

Given the national and global nature of our economy today, few communities are immune to these macro-economic factors, and they can’t unilaterally turn them around.

We here in western Colorado can have little influence on the nationwide price of natural gas, the number of new auto-manufacturing jobs or the multitude of factors that have depressed the housing industry.

But, as the column on this page points out, we can have some impact on our economy by choosing to purchase as many goods and services locally as possible.

Online purchases have virtually no impact on the local economy, either in wages paid — and money from them that is eventually spent here — or in tax revenue flowing to local governments. Even goods purchased in Colorado but on the other side of the Continental Divide have minimal effect on our economic situation.

But buying goods from local retailers, having dinner at local restaurants and obtaining the services of local providers, from concrete finishers to barbers, will have a direct and positive effect on the local economy. So long as people are willing to spend some of the money they obtain from these transactions, the funds will circulate and recirculate throughout the area.

The Mesa County community has a well-deserved reputation for stepping up to help those in need — whether by donating money and goods to help people beset by catastrophes around the world, giving to United Way and other local charities, or chipping in to help neighbors here at home who have suffered personal disasters.

That notion of a helping community should extend to our economy as well. As the program celebrates its first anniversary, we urge readers to get on the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s Blue Band Wagon and purchase as many goods and services as possible from local businesses.


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