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Seeing the results

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By The Gazette

A trio of new job announcements were welcome news in the two weeks before Christmas — a positive end to a year of economic stagnation. A new solar panel product line at Guardian Industries in Galax will create 40 jobs; Bucyrus in Hillsville will add 32 workers and a new company, Independence Homes, will employ 42 people after it opens in Grayson County.
Some may characterize these gains as "small," if they are among those dreaming of a huge manufacturer that will sweep in and save the economy with 500 jobs. Anything is possible, but these smaller successes are more beneficial in a way — they keep all those jobs from relying on the fate of one employer.
To those looking for work, these 104 total jobs are a godsend.
Much hard work goes on behind the scenes before the press release touting new jobs hits the fax or inbox, and the recent announcements should silence critics who say local government is doing nothing to bring in new employers.
You can't judge how much work economic developers have done simply by pointing out the lack of new industries.
Economic development takes place in the dark, for the most part, as deals are made and incentives are offered and, sometimes, rejected. We hear about the positive outcomes, but only after months of negotiations — and after dozens of potential industries pass on our area despite local officials wining, dining and promising all they can possibly offer.
It's difficult, often frustrating, work. Most times, the public never knows what "might have been."
If they've done their job and explored every option to land an employer, and a company still decides to locate elsewhere, local officials can't be blamed.
What we hope is that the efforts continue, and we can look forward to more steps —large or small —on the road to economic recovery.