Talk to business owners in Floyd County and they say pretty much the same: Business is down. It could be better. Then again, it could be worse.
The chatter over coffee at The Blue Ridge Restaurant or Cafe del Sol is more downbeat. Idled workers from Volvo and fixed income retirees facing increased costs for taxes, utilities and other staples share a common worry: Can I make it through these hard times?
That question is being asked more and more around the country. Reports The Associated Press:
As the economy continues to struggle, the public is growing increasingly concerned about losing jobs, not having enough money to pay the bills and seeing their retirement accounts shrink, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they worry about becoming unemployed — almost double the percentage at this time last year.
The poll released Wednesday also found public support dipped slightly in the past month for the $787 billion package of tax cuts and government spending President Barack Obama signed into law this week on the promise that it will save or create 3.5 million jobs and re-ignite the economy.
"I lost a job myself," said Edd Winkler, 40, a married attorney and father of two in Grand Rapids, Mich. "There were just too many attorneys for the amount of work we had coming in to the firm at that time." Winkler has opened his own practice, and says most of his work involves bankruptcies.
"I know a lot of other people who have lost jobs," he added.
You know times are bad when lawyers get laid off.
Appalachian Power does its part with another rate increase that doubles electric bills for some over the past year. Floyd County government is setting the stage for increases in property taxes. Gas prices are sneaking back up. So are food costs. Signs announcing foreclosure auctions now appear along roadways in Floyd County.
Clients who used to pay in 30 days are now take 90 days or longer. A half dozen of our web hosting clients went bust last year and more are on the ropes. More and more local clients want to barter for services. Amy and I now refer to our 401K as our "01K." It’s not a joke.
Many people in Floyd County just scrape by in the best of times. Now they scramble, working three or more parttime jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table. Teachers in our school system worry about job cuts. State budget cuts could also force the Sheriff’s Department to lay off deputies and other county employees could lose their jobs as well.
Floyd Countians have a reputation of standing tough in tough times. We band together to work out a solution.
We’ve weathered hard times before. We can do it again.