Hints have emerged in recent days. Last week, a story in The Star revealed that home foreclosures — one of the strongest indicators of economic stability — are trending downward. Eighty-five Calhoun County homes were foreclosed on in the third quarter of this year. That’s a few less than the respective third-quarter numbers from the last three years.
In other words, slight progress. But it’s not recovery. Pre-recession numbers were better.
Likewise, a Star story Sunday delved into the Anniston-Oxford area’s perch at the top of the state’s rankings for the number of construction jobs. While the state as a whole has hemorrhaged construction jobs in recent years due to the lingering effects of the recession, the Anniston-Oxford metro area has retained its healthy number because of the bounty of commercial and federal projects that have taken place.
That’s progress, again.
Problem is, it’s not homebuilding — the true indicator that banks are lending, middle-class residents are investing, jobs are secure and real estate companies are making money. When these construction workers and their employers are tasked with building homes instead of groceries, office buildings and police stations, that will signal the county’s return to a stronger fiscal health.
Don’t get us wrong; we’re elated the Anniston-Oxford construction industry hasn’t completely tanked like those in most other areas in Alabama. We’ll take what we can get. But keep an eye out for what the guys in hard hats are building, and how much. It’s a visible sign of our fiscal health.