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REDI Report – November 28, 2015

Lots of positive trends locally to be thankful for

Although I think we should always be thankful and count our blessings every day, certainly this time of year brings those thoughts to the forefront. I’m certainly thankful for the blessing of discovering Lebanon as my new home both personally and professionally during the past nine months. It is certainly wonderful to work in a community and county full of amazing people who truly care about where they live and who likewise care about their neighbors.

Sometimes it is easy to focus on what we “don’t have” and neglect to remember what we do. I hope the holiday season allows us all to stop and think for a minute about what makes Lebanon and Laclede County great.

More good news came our way this past week with the release of job numbers for the month of October 2015. The trend of declining unemployment rates continued as Laclede County had an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent last month. This was the best overall October percentage since 2007 and also the first time our unemployment rate has dropped below six percent since May 2008. I am very thankful for the communities of Laclede County for making this possible from the employers who have continued to hire or shorten down times and the employees who continue to work hard to provide for their families.

Another positive trend from the October 2015 job statistics is the fact that we are adding to our labor force. When promoting Lebanon and Laclede County as viable options to locate, relocate or expand a business, these numbers are very important. So thank you for the part you have played in this process, as again I’ll say “everyone is a part of the economic development effort in our community and county.”

To that point, I want to mention how critical it is to remember how effective our words can be. I think we all get into routines in our day-to-day lives. I most certainly do. My day typically starts by visiting a local convenience store and buying a cup of coffee. It is my initial caffeine fix for the day as I start with sugar, add the coffee and then mix in some French vanilla creamer. The particular store that I visit has some very friendly staff members. I’m greeted with “good morning” as soon as I enter the business. Usually one or more of the employees will carry on a brief conversation. We often don’t think about how effective it is, but I have found that I actually look forward to my coffee stop as it helps begin the day on a positive note.

You never truly know who you might interact with on a daily basis. Those employees are showcasing that Lebanon truly is a friendly place. Imagine a company’s president or chief executive walking into a store and being treated poorly. That lone interaction could shape his opinion of a community and the area might never recover. Who knows how many jobs or opportunities could be lost as a result of such an occurrence. So here is another example of everyone playing a part in the economic development process, especially frontline employees at local establishments. They are often the “first impression” an outsider will get from a community. And we should all want that to be the absolute best first impression that we can give.

In closing, I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend. Please be safe during the holiday season and I urge everyone to buy local as often as you can to help Lebanon and Laclede County businesses continue to grow.

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at brian@lebanonredi.com)