Over the weekend the office of Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that the governor would make a “major” economic announcement yesterday. I suppose this is what his office meant. Cadence Inc., a manufacturer of equipment for industrial and medical applications, announced that it will expand its plant in Staunton and ultimately add 65 jobs to the area. McDonnell, however, evidently didn’t want to publicize other economic news the same day, news that offset his job gain by a factor of almost 10 to 1.
Star Tek, a call center and the largest remaining private employer in Henry County, announced Monday that it is closing its doors by the end of July, eliminating 631 jobs in that hard-hit area. Star Tek is moving much of its employment overseas to a new facility in the Philippines.
“The economic situation in Henry County-Martinsville and the surrounding region is desperate, and it is going to take a greater effort on the part of the governor and state government to turn the region around,” said Del. Ward Armstrong (D-Henry). He added that the McDonnell administration “has not been able to create more jobs than have been lost.”
McDonnell’s “jobs” math yesterday is very simple: 631 minus 65 = 566 jobs lost in one day. So, that “major economic announcement” coming out of the governor’s office should have been, “Hundreds of jobs lost in a hard-hit area of the state, a county that has an unemployment rate of more than 17%.”
Heck, even the Times-Dispatch, hardly an enemy of McDonnell, noted that “news of the planned closing came on the same day McDonnell was in Staunton trumpeting the creation of 65 jobs through a plant expansion by Cadence Inc.” With a “jobs governor” like that, Virginia doesn’t need any economic enemies. The slowly improving state economy is not the doing of McDonnell. It is simply the upward curve of the improving national economy. However, if you ask the people in Henry County, Martinsville, and Danville, the state economy is still in severe crisis.