Key development projects
Thanks to economic development investments by private businesses working with the CEP, Urbana – for the first time ever – ranked 41st in the Site Selection magazine’s 2017 list of top U.S. micropolitan communities.
Recent successes include the new Navistar distribution center, Memorial Health’s medical building, expansion of Weidmann Electrical Technology, opening of Nutrien Ag Solutions, Sutphen Corporation’s new Service, Parts and Refurbishment Center, expansion of Old Souls Farms hydroponic operations, expansion of Advanced Technology Products and purchase of the former Robert Rothschild Farm property.
Champaign County manufacturing jobs have grown from under 3,000 jobs in 2013 to nearly 4,000 in 2018.
Major projects for 2019 include:
The CEP is partnering with schools and businesses in numerous ways to help make sure Champaign County has the skilled workforce required by new and expanding businesses.
Results of these partnerships include:
For more information, call the CEP at 937-653-7200 or browse CEPOhio.com.
Employers in Clark & Champaign counties have jobs to fill now
Amy Donahoe, director of Workforce Development with the Chamber of Greater Springfield, said the falling unemployment rate is an example of Clark County continuing to see businesses hire and grow.
“We are seeing individuals becoming employed right away when businesses are hiring,”
Donahoe said. “There is no reason for people not be working right now.”
Donahoe said the Chamber is focusing to tap into the workforce within Clark County to keep residents working close to home.
“We have a lot of people living here but working outside of the area,” Donahoe said. “We are working on keeping people here and helping people find work closer to home.”
Bill LaFayette, an economist and owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economics and workforce consulting firm, said the unemployment rate for Clark County is good.
LaFayette said that Ohio DJFS does not seasonally adjust, or account for seasonal patterns that include summer hiring, major holiday hiring and school schedules.
State and national figures are adjusted for those factors.
Statewide, Ohio’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.4 percent, down 0.2 percent from February, according to the OJFS. The nationwide unemployment rate remained steady at 3.8 percent, continuing its downward trend.
“If we are looking at seasonally adjusted numbers, unemployment still went down from 4.2 in February, to 4 in March,” LaFayette said about Clark County’s unemployment numbers.
In Champaign County, the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in March, down from 3.8 percent in February.
Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said the county’s unemployment numbers are, “great news.”
“These numbers are great, but there is a flip side to this story,” Bailey said. “The other side is that there are still jobs that need to be filled and companies that are hiring right now.”
Companies across Champaign County are looking to fill positions right now, Bailey said.
“We want people to understand that there are jobs available and we encourage them to come and see us,” Bailey said. “We want to help everyone find their career.”
Contact this reporter at 937- 328-0329 or email Riley. Newton@coxinc.com.
March: 4.1 percent
February: 4.6 percent
January: 5.4 percent
March: 3.4 percent
February: 3.8 percent
January: 4.5 percent
Montego Designs Unlimited is OPEN for business at 114 Scioto in Urbana. Welcome to Champaign County!
And Ohio’s economy is growing quickly, adding jobs faster than the rest of the nation, said Bret Crow, spokesperson for Ohio Job and Family Services. Average weekly earnings are also growing faster than other states across the country.
“This milestone is a big deal for Ohio, but even further, it’s a positive indicator that Ohio’s economy is continuing its strong trajectory upward,” Crow said.
Experts say the data underline the continued recovery after the Great Recession. Even as the economy improved, consumers worried about spending their savings.
“Finally consumer confidence has increased and they feel more confident spending money on new cars, housing and other consumer products,” said John Bowblis, an economics professor at Miami University’s Farmer School of Business. “And this has made business confidence increase as well, leading them to invest in their businesses and to hire workers to meet the demands of consumers.”
The manufacturing sector added 3,400 jobs last month. Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Harrison Twp., for example, has increased from 23 employees to 40 in the past year and a half, said owner Steve Staub.
“It started moving up a year and a half ago, but once the tax cuts went into effect, it really gave optimism to manufacturers,” he said, adding that the tax cuts are like “jet fuel” for manufacturers.
More than one in 10 Ohioans work a manufacturing job, totaling more than 700,000, according to the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. The sector boasts an Ohio GDP of $106 billion, ranking third of the 50 states. It’s also the largest of 20 economic sectors in the state.
The “other services” sector, which includes repair shops, hair and nail salons, and weight-reduction services, added 3,400 jobs in September as well, a sector that Crow said does better when people have more disposable income to spend.
“I think what we need to be careful of is what happens to the Federal Reserve policy with interest rates. When you raise interest rates, it makes borrowing more expensive,” Bowblis said. “If the fed over-tightens that could lead to a slowdown in growth and potentially recession. It’s a delicate balancing act.”
As more people lose the option to borrow, their consumer confidence could drop, adding on to the growing concern consumers have as the trade war with China escalates.
And labor force participation has dropped, said Miami University economics professor Michael Lipsitz. Participation takes into account all Ohioans older than 16 who are working or want to work. Before the recession, it was about 67 percent, but now it is closer to 62 percent.
“Another month of falling labor force participation means Ohioans are leaving the labor market — either to move to another state or they are unable to find a job that fits their skills,” said Andrew Kidd an economist with The Buckeye Institute’s Economic Research Center.
Paul Kurtz, who founded Hemisphere in 2002 with his wife, Grace, said he plans to make the Coffee Fest an annual event. The fact that they moved into their new building in mid-summer this year has added to the festivities, but Kurtz acknowledges that the festival involving food trucks, kids activities, vendors, coffee cupping and music is not solely about promoting his own business.
"What we are trying to do with our Staurday event here, the once-a-year Coffee Fest, is really to educate people to what is coffee, how to taste cofee, and what to look for," he said. "It doesn't mean that they're all going to come buy their coffee here, because we hear some people are coming from Dayton. But if they're educated, it will help all roasters that are direct importing."
According to Kurtz, the last several years have seen a resurgence in local coffee roasting. One hundred years ago, every cluster of blocks in a large city would have had their own roaster, but since the advent of large, international brands, it has been more common for people to buy their coffee from the supermarket until recently.
Hemisphere imports beans direct from farmers in Thailand, Kenya, Guatemala and Nicaragua, then ships to locations all over the United States including about 200 churches, 25 coffee shops like The Spotted Cow in Urbana, and some markets including Whole Foods. But while this this direct trade model has been good for local businesses, Kurtz says it is even better for the farmers who produce the coffee.
Read more in the October 12th edition of the Urbana Daily Citizen.
Learn more about Hemisphere Coffee Roasters at their website, www.hemispherecoffeeroasters.com/.