Last week, Goldman Sachs, a major Wall Street investment bank, updated its index of economic activity for the country. It calculated the index at 72 — that economic activity has hit 72 percent of the pre-COVID level — citing “back-to-normal” metrics, including app downloads, spending data, TSA checkpoint counts and OpenTable readings. It’s the index’s highest point since mid-March, and the week’s increase is the biggest yet.
We found the number surprising as we noted the area businesses and services — and schools — that were not open or fully opened and those that have closed for good.
Goldman reported that the long weekend saw more Americans leaving their homes and spending — at restaurants, malls and hotels.
Another promising headline in the financial media speculated that third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may increase a record 35 percent annualized. Other headlines noted that unemployment is declining, job postings and retail sales now exceed pre-COVID levels, and the housing industry is booming.
This reopening glow is bolstered by encouraging COVID news, declining mortality counts around the country and positive progress reports on a vaccine.
What does this mean for us in Franklin County? What does this mean for The Missourian?
When I joined the paper as editor and publisher nearly four months ago, I pledged that we would stay committed to supporting the growth of our community. That has been a long-standing plank in our paper’s mission statement. In early summer I was thinking about our community’s economic growth because we faced some daunting challenges at that time. Today, with the economy moving ahead, we have the luxury to think about other important areas that are ripe for development.
We support Mayor Sandy Lucy’s efforts to create a community relations board to host monthly community listening sessions to maintain the sense of community that people love about Washington as it grows and welcomes newcomers.
Seeking input on how we can stay committed to education, health care and the general development of our city while encouraging diversity in our community and businesses will attract more people to the area and help Washington prosper. Growth will bring more opportunities to strengthen our community. We are entering an interesting time in our nation’s journey and our community’s journey. We look forward to publishing the stories of those people and organizations leading the charge.