John Hagen had good news last week for anyone with a stake in a meaningful increase in Pasco County's economic performance. Delivering a report to the county commission, Hagen, the president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, said the Wesley Chapel-based organization, which seeks to recruit companies to Pasco and keep the ones here from leaving, pursued 263 business leads last fiscal year. The PEDC had only a combined total of 265 leads in the two years before last.
Granted, PEDC lead totals are a slim set of data points. So we're not ready to declare the current arc of Pasco County economic progress is a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. Still, given the stubbornly high rate of unemployment, reduced government tax and fee revenue and other signs of economic malaise that have gripped Pasco since the county's real estate and housing sector began tanking in 2007, we'll take what we can get.
Hagen said part of the increase in leads can be attributed to marketing, which is what the nonprofit PEDC was created to do back in 1987. He also told commissioners a "tailwind from the economy" was helping move things forward.
Given how much economic output Pasco has lost over the last five-plus years, we'd like to see the county's business ship running downwind from a Force 8 gale. Until conditions get that economically robust, it is good to see things are at least headed in the right direction.