Economic Development News
Business Expansion Activity Continues in Jefferson City Area
A portion of the 2015 Annual Report
Published: Monday, May 2, 2016
By: Shaun Sappenfield
Expansion activity brought investment and job creation to our community in 2015 as a result of continued growth from a handful of well established companies within our community. The Chamber’s existing business program continues to work closely with local employers to identify expansion opportunities for sustainable job growth and the maintenance of current employment levels as well. I constantly remind myself of a phrase which holds a lot truth, “companies are not in business to create jobs - they are in business to make a profit.” With this in mind, we must all recognize that new job growth and job retention is viewed differently depending on your vantage point.
The Chamber’s existing business program, which focuses on the expansion and retention of existing businesses, worked directly with four local companies to assist in their growth plans. In total, four companies increased their employment to the tune of 204 net new employees and invested $3.7 million into their facilities. As in most all communities, the existing business base tends to generate the majority of sustainable jobs within a local economy, and reinvestment leads to stability and longevity among employers. The estimated net new payroll associated with the proposed 204 new positions is $6.2 million dollars.
Since 2007, the Chamber existing business program has worked aggressively to facilitate opportunities for growth, 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 33 expansion projects by area manufacturers (some companies having multiple expansions) equating to just over 1000 net new jobs, with an estimated total payroll of plus $35.6 million (est. average wage per new job = $35,600).
Companies are adding employees, and the evidence can be seen in the drop in unemployment at the national, state and local levels. Since 2009, the nation’s unemployment has fallen dramatically from a high water mark of 9.2%, to its current level of 4.5% in February of 2016. In the same time period, Cole County’s unemployment rates have decreased from 7.4% to 3.5%. Cole County has not experienced unemployment levels in the 3 percent range since May of 2007.
As we quickly move through 2016, please keep the following in mind. 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. Overall economic growth is attainable, and we must view economic development efforts with a long term view point.