Metro job growth outshining Indiana, nation | Business
The Evansville metropolitan area is helping fuel Indiana’s job growth for the past twelve months according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the Evansville metro added more actual employment over the same time one year earlier than larger metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Georgia; Des Moines, Iowa; Wichita, Kansas; or Indianapolis, Indiana. The Evansville metro also had a larger percentage of job growth than those same metros along with beating out competitors such as Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Quad Cities area of Davenport, Iowa, Moline and Rock Island, Illinois in addition to larger regional metros of Columbus, Ohio; Lexington, Kentucky; and, Nashville, Tennessee.
“Over the past 12 months our metropolitan area grew by 3,900 jobs or 2.2 percent getting us very close to the 2007 pre-recession levels,” said Greg Wathen, president & CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. “At this pace, we should exceed the pre-recession levels of employment by mid-year, which is quite an accomplishment given the unstable economic climate.”
Though many metros lag very far behind their pre-recession employment levels, the Evansville metro is less than one percent from its pre-recession employment benchmark with a mere .08 percent difference. The recession was officially dated as beginning in December 2007 and ending in June 2009.
Formed in late 2006, the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana acts as the umbrella economic development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties in Southwest Indiana and has attracted nearly $400 million in new investment and more than 2,875 new jobs. The Coalition facilitates and coordinates business retention, expansion and attraction activities; and, supports efforts to enhance the business climate through regional capacity building.
Another important aspect of the Coalition’s multi-faceted job description is helping the communities it serves build new capacity for future development. In four years, the Coalition has secured $58 million in grants for such things as expansion of water and sewer systems; building new community centers; and, making improvements to the region’s levee system, which protects thousands of acres.