Recent news from the Yuma Private Industry Council placed a bright light in an area that's been rather dark for Yuma County.
YPIC said that it recorded fewer layoffs and business closures in 2012 than in 2011.
In fact, in 2011, YPIC saw 16 business closures and 22 layoff events. However, in 2012, they only saw 10 companies with layoffs, and three businesses that closed completely.
And, Patrick Goetz, business services officer at YPIC, said they are expecting to see growth in several industries, including defense (thanks to the Joint Strike Fighter at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma), medical office support staff and solar energy.
Goetz said that they will also be recruiting workers for Arizona Public Service's latest solar project, the Hyder II plant.
Unfortunately, Yuma County's unemployment number is still one of the highest in the country, at nearly 30 percent, which is significantly higher than the nationwide average of just under 8 percent.
And, about 33,000 people came through YPIC's offices in 2012, an increase of about 1,500 over 2011.
Goetz noted that while many are still looking for work overall, some are those who are underemployed — in jobs they are overqualified for but that they need to make ends meet.
While our unemployment numbers are still high, and YPIC is still seeing a large number of people seeking employment assistance, the news that fewer businesses are shutting their doors is a bright light at the end of what's been a long tunnel for this region.
It joins the list of other positive highlights that have happened lately, including the Convey Health Solutions call center (previously known as NationsHealth), the changes coming to the Southgate Mall property and the new construction of auto dealerships along 32nd Street.
Each piece is another welcome indication that the economy is moving forward — finally — in Yuma County.