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Weathering the financial storm

The United States’ financial system is taking blows on a daily basis and Chapman Forest’s announcement to cut 70 employees this week should serve as proof that Butler County is not immune to the effects of a struggling economy.

Then on Wednesday Georgia Pacific announced plans to close its Plywood Mill near Monroeville, effectively eliminating 300 jobs as the lumber industry tries to scale back production in the face of a downturn in new home construction.

In both cases, the nation’s economy was cited as the reason.

There’s no good time to lose a job, but it’s even worse that these layoffs come on the cusp of the holiday season, a time when families are usually able to come together for a time of fellowship and celebration. But this year many families will be forced to lean on one another for survival and presents under the tree will be few, if any.

Hyundai’s planned 11-day work stoppage also hits home, with two suppliers located inside Butler County. The Montgomery Advertiser reported on Oct. 26 a $4.2 million in lost wages from the 3,000 workers at Hyundai alone due to the halt in production. Take into account there are over 6,000 workers at Hyundai supply plants throughout central Alabama and the ripple effect is obvious.

Newly elected county commissioner Lynn Harold Watson broke it down in stark terms on Wednesday. He said in Georgiana the city routinely collected a monthly sales tax of $37,000 on average in the past.

In October, sales tax collections were $17,000.

A shutdown of one the Georgiana’s larger businesses – like Food Giant or Fred’s – would likely cripple the city, he said.

Clearly, we are living in harsh economic times. In these times we must help our families and our neighbors weather the storm of financial uncertainty, turning our attention toward a hopefully better and brighter future.