By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Talking among friends last week, our discussion turned to the latest job numbers. One person remarked, “Rockland’s unemployment rate is down almost a point from the same time last year. This is great news!” True, it’s a big improvement over where we were. But, great news? Not if your one of those still without a job.
By now you know growing our local workforce is a cornerstone of my agenda. With the recent hire of Calherbe Monel as Rockland’s director of Economic Development, my administration is working every day to create jobs, encourage capital investment and drive growth of the region’s economy.
In the short time he’s been with the county, Calherbe has already strengthened our partnerships with local municipalities, neighboring counties, the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, the Rockland Industrial Development Agency and the Rockland Business Association. This healthy collaboration is all about greater exposure and more business leads resulting in jobs and investment for the county.
We’re making strides to grow our existing businesses, too. My Executive Staff is developing an innovative plan to engage local employers, neighborhood by neighborhood, to address any potential concerns. We will make “house calls” to large corporations and mom-and-pop stores alike. As we work to attract new business, we cannot forget those companies, large and small, already keeping our economic engine humming.
The March jobs report, released April 22nd by the state Department of Labor, shows Rockland County having one of the lowest unemployment rates in New York, ranked third at 5.3 percent, dropping from 6.2 percent a year earlier. The state report also shows there were 147,000 Rockland residents employed last month, compared to 145,900 in March 2013. These are signs that the work force may again be growing — a good economic indicator if the trend continues.
In the weeks and months ahead, look for the positive results of this unprecedented team effort between business, community and elected leaders. It will be a long climb, with potential hurdles still ahead, but the days of rising unemployment rates in Rockland County appear to be over for now.