Kyle Troutman: Hanging our stockings in hopes of economic prosperity

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

As our stockings are hung by the chimney with care, it is our hope that an even stronger economy may soon be there.

Steadily improving over the last few years, economic recovery seems just within sight. The first place to find a positive economic sign is in the Barry County unemployment rate, which peaked at 9.4 percent in January 2010. That number has dipped to 4.1 percent in October, the lowest since December 2006, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With the lower unemployment rate comes more purchasing power, possibly lending to the spike in sales tax revenues this year. Barry County has recorded a 10.36 percent spike in sales tax revenues boosting the general fund. Cities throughout Barry and Lawrence counties have seen upticks as well.

The beef cattle industry, which holds a prime cut of Barry County land, is seeing sale prices reach records, and local experts say the housing market looks to be on the edge of a return.

An early Christmas gift came in the form of gas prices, which in some Barry County cities dropped below $2 per gallon -- the lowest price seen since December 2008.

Good times are also leading to good deeds, as the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation helped 438 children and 161 families within the Share Your Christmas campaign this year.

Taking those positives into account, there is no way to predict with certainty where the economy is headed. If there were, we probably wouldn't have allowed unemployment near 10 percent in 2008. This New Year, there is one resolution we can all make to help ensure the local economy continues the upward trend -- shop locally.

Make it a point to spend your hard-earned money with the local businesses that keep our dollars working for us. Cancel that trip to Springfield and head to Main Street to satisfy shopping needs. Local restaurants also work hard to keep residents happy, and there are plenty of plates to choose from.

Will local shopping alone guarantee our economy will continue too improve? No.

So, to cover our bases, we're turning to the one and only Kris Kringle to lend us a hand. Santa Claus, if you're reading this, please make our wish for economic prosperity come true.

We've been good this year. We promise.

Kyle Troutman is the editor of the Cassville Democrat. He can be reached at, or 417-847-2610.