Although COVID-19 has created many difficulties for individuals, families, businesses, schools, and more, it hasn’t stopped the need for economic development and growth to ensure Morgan County communities have a future.
“During this pandemic, I’ve seen growth projects delayed or canceled. It’s been difficult to engage with people remotely, and there has been a lack of imperative,” said Morgan County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) Executive Director Michael Dellinger. “Change is a given, but we must continue to plan and work for economic growth.”
If there is no growth in our county, whether it’s new people and/or businesses moving in, those of us living and working here today will be expected to produce more on the job and will likely pay more money to maintain and update current infrastructures such as utilities, roads, and schools.
The Community Foundation of Morgan County (CFMC) believes in the mission and work of MCEDC. Bringing new businesses and people to our communities is critical to building and sustaining a future for everyone.
According to Dellinger, local manufacturers are experiencing an increase in orders, the county’s unemployment rate has dropped since April, and new housing development has increased from a year ago. Here are some examples of how businesses re-opening and new home development impacts our local economy:
- Morgan County’s unemployment rate was under three percent in February. It spiked to 11% in April-May and is now approximately 8.2%. With people returning to work, now is the time to spend those hard-earned dollars supporting local businesses, rather than going out of county to eat and shop.
- Nice-Pak, a manufacturer in Mooresville that produces sanitary hand wipes, reported a substantial increase in production and orders after the pandemic started. Meeting the demand for a much-needed product, Nice-Pak continues to support the local economy.
- In June of this year, there were 33 new homes were permitted for construction, compared to 11 single-family building permits issued at the same time last year. There has also been an increased interest in platting and developing residential subdivisions. Hopefully, new homes will result in people moving into the county to fill jobs, add more children to our schools, share more of the tax burden, shop locally, and use their skills and talents to help community organizations.
Dellinger added that Morgan County needs more capacity and supply to attract and retain new individuals and families who would invest in the betterment of our communities. If we can’t make this happen, all of us will suffer the consequences of increased costs and a diminished quality of life.
To learn more about the work of MCEDC, go to https://www.morgancoed.com/ for information. While bringing new businesses to our county is crucial, CFMC also recognizes that existing companies, such as manufacturers, have a need for skilled employees. These jobs come with great pay and there are schools, such as Ivy Tech, who offer the necessary training and certifications. For more information, check out our Real Problems/Real Solutions site at https://cfmconline.org/rprs/.