Small Business News

Business Expansion Continues in 2016
from the 2016 Annual Report - Existing Business
Published: Thursday, March 30, 2017
By: Shaun Sappenfield

Expansion activity continues to deliver investment and new jobs to our community in 2016, as a result of continued growth from a handful of long-standing employers within our community.  The Chamber’s existing business program, established in 2007, is constantly engaging with local employers to identify expansion opportunities for sustainable job growth and the retention of current employment levels as well.  As the economic recovery continues, companies are making capital investments and adding jobs to keep pace with economy’s growth.  At the same time, companies are also investing in automation, consolidating operations, identifying merger opportunities and buying out competitors to gain a competitive advantage within the market place.  Even in times of economic growth our community must continue to encourage and support existing businesses in addition to attracting new businesses as some business sectors strive to become leaner and others continue their slow contraction. 

The Chamber’s existing business program, which focuses on the expansion and retention of existing businesses, identified four local companies as they expanded in 2016. In total, four companies increased their employment to the tune of 270 net new employees and invested $16.5 million into their equipment and facilities. As in most all communities, the existing business base tends to generate the majority of jobs within a local economy, and reinvestment leads to stability and longevity among employers.  The estimated net new payroll associated with the proposed 270 new positions is $6.4 million dollars. 

Since 2007, the Chamber existing business program has worked aggressively to facilitate opportunities for growth, by focusing their efforts on projects that have a higher capacity to create multiple jobs, taxable real/personal private investment and lead to sustainable long-term economic benefits to the community.  Within this time period, the Chamber has assisted in the facilitation of 37 expansion projects by area manufacturers (some companies having multiple expansions) equating to just over 1315 net new jobs, with an estimated total payroll of plus $42.1 million (est. average wage per new job = $32,000). 

In 2016, Cole County’s average yearly unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, as compared to Missouri’s yearly average of 4.5 percent.  In 2010, Cole County’s average yearly unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, and since that time the rate has withered by 3.4 percent.   Unemployment rates just out for January, 2017, indicates that Cole County one of eighteen Missouri counties with a unemployment rate below 4.0 percent – Cole County’s unemployment rate for January stands at 3.4 percent. 

As the economy continues its slow growth, we must support local expansion opportunities along with maintaining our efforts to attract new business as the private sector will provide the mostly likely opportunities for increases in employment.  In addition, we as a community must continue to invest in the areas of infrastructure, schools, recreational amenities, and public safety to retain and attract a quality workforce.  Economic growth within a community is not facilitated by one entity or organization; it takes a multi-pronged approach by both the public and private sector to provide the resources and assets required by businesses and community improvement projects.  Overall economic growth is attainable, and we must view economic development efforts with a long term view point.

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