News broke Monday that a new employer was coming to town, bringing 112 new jobs to Albany. This is great news for a community. I applaud the Economic Development Commission, who is apparently at least partially responsible for this. Unfortunately, 112 jobs shouldn’t even be news.
I don’t want to belittle the new jobs. There are quite a few people who will be able to purchase homes, cars, and provide a positive economic boost to Albany’s depressed economy. This is a good thing by anyone’s estimation. However, in a city of 77,434 as of the 2010 census, that’s only a drop in the bucket.
Albany currently has an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent. That means over 7,000 Albanians are counted in that number. Still more have quit looking, keeping them from being counted, but for the sake of argument, let’s keep them out of this.
With almost 7,000 people looking for work (it’s actually more, we just using whole numbers to make it easier to understand), 112 jobs just aren’t going to cut it. That’s 62.5 people for each opening. As an employer myself, I like having the selection. As an Albanian, I see this as the bad thing it really is.
Outdoor Network’s arrival in Albany should have been filler material for local newspapers. Instead, it became a breaking news story. Why? Well, it was news. These 112 jobs are badly needed, and we haven’t had a lot of other new jobs being brought to town recently.
Again, I applaud the EDC for what they’ve done to bring Outdoor Network to the Artesian City. However, I also ask them to let this just be the beginning. Those 112 jobs need to be the first of thousands of jobs. I don’t care if they come in one fell swoop, or in many smaller chunks like this. What matters is that we get them.
Economics is a tricky thing. However, we do know that we need more money coming into Albany than we have leaving it. That is how we grow as a community. That is how we begin to improve our educational system. That is how we begin to take our streets back from the criminals. This is how we make Albany become The Good Life City once again.
Those days aren’t necessarily gone, but they’re close to being that way. We have to take them back. They won’t reappear through good intentions, ridiculous campaigns that accomplish nothing, or anything else. We have to do the things to make those days return, minus the racial baggage that was part of that era.
I’d like to welcome Outdoor Network to Albany, and I hope they grow as a company and bring more and more success to Albany. I also hope they can help us attract new employers as well. There’s no way 112 jobs should be as good of news as it is…but I believe I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll take it.