Can we focus more on the economy?

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Have you looked at your 401K lately? First off, I hope you have a 401K, and if you do, I hope it is performing as well as mine has in the last several months.

The economy is booming, folks, and I for one give a great deal of that credit to the person who was elected by the American people to turn the nation’s economy around.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the numbers.

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This year has seen record-breaking highs on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow Jones has been surging since the first of the year. On Tuesday, the Dow rose 167 points to another record high of 23,441.

On Nov. 4, 2016, the market was sitting in the 18,000 range — the day Donald J. Trump was elected President. Having the market grow by 5,000 points in a year is an incredible shift to the positive side of the economy. Jobs are being created.

For example, the oil industry is booming once again, but an associated press story indicates there is a labor shortage of qualified individuals.

Halliburton has hired hundreds of workers in West Texas this year to meet demand for hydraulic fracturing services, but even the largest U.S. fracking company has had to look beyond Texas to replenish a workforce that was decimated by years of cheap oil prices. The company holds job fairs in places like Alabama, Mississippi and Nevada.

They need truck drivers and equipment.

Across the oil patch, trucking companies said it has become much harder to find enough commercially licensed truck drivers in West Texas to keep up with rising demand for hauling sand and oil field equipment. In short supply, some of these truckers, particularly those with years of experience, can make as much as $4,000 a week — $200,000 a year.

Another shortage in the oil patch: working fracking equipment. During the downturn of 2015, scores of oil field services companies cannibalized their idled equipment for spare parts, instead of repairing the equipment that was working in the oil fields. Across the United States, there’s enough demand for fracking equipment totaling 14 million to 18 million hydraulic horsepower. But there’s only 12 million hydraulic horsepower available today.

A lot of individuals apparently want to get out of an industry that is boom-or-bust and taking other career paths that are steadier. But the money and jobs are there.

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in Mississippi has increased over the last year. The latest numbers indicate there are 6,500 more jobs in the Magnolia State this year than there were a year ago. The September unemployment rate is just above five percent, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. That is still high, but not as bad as Ohio, New Mexico or Alaska.

My point is that jobs are available for those who want them, but rather than talk about how the economy has made a huge turnaround, it seems a vast majority of folks would rather focus on the negatives in an attempt to drive our nation further apart.

Rob Sigler is editor of The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at