In economic development, our number one goal is for our community to have more jobs. So, how exactly does that happen?
Politicians always talk about job creation as if the government is responsible. I can tell you this, there is only one group truly responsible for job creation and that is businesses. In my roles as an economic developer, I certainly don’t create jobs, but rather simply work to clear the way for those jobs to be created.
A great example of job creation in Cape over the last year is the AT&T expansion of 150 jobs I’ve talked about on this show before. We have always worked to build relationships with AT&T, to maintain a business-friendly political climate and to help ensure they have a supply of qualified workers, but ultimately, those jobs were created completely the company itself.
One of the things we do is monitor the number of jobs being created in our community. The best report we’ve found shows that there were 418 net new jobs in the Cape Girardeau area in 2017. That’s not explosive growth, but it’s solid. That said, one report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated the Cape Girardeau area actually lost about 2,700 government jobs, which is just crazy. Considering there are only about 6,300 government jobs in our region, there is just no way we lost 1/3 of all those jobs with no major closures in 2017. I share this to show the challenge we face in actually tracking these numbers accurately.
So, what’s most important is that we continue to do the things that pave the way for job creation and forget about the rest. If you or your company has experience anything preventing you from growing and adding jobs, I’d love to know about it. Reach out any time.