Chamber says it aided creation of 3,000 jobs
By Karl Henkel
The Youngstown/ Warren Regional Chamber said its economic- development team assisted companies that invested more than $1 billion in facilities and created nearly 3,000 jobs from 2009 to 2011.
“As the national economy continues to recover from the 2008 downturn, and as the Valley is poised for a great boon, it was appropriate for the chamber to take stock of its successes during this time period and to look ahead toward tremendous growth opportunities moving forward,” said Tom Humphries, chamber president and CEO.
The chamber said the three-year job-creation total was 12 percent more than the predicted 2,300 jobs. It also said investment totals were 304 percent higher than the goal of $240 million during the three-year period.
There were 59 investments during that period.
Some $650 million of the $1.08 billion invested during the past three years came from V&M Star’s new steel mill. An additional $57 million came from a VAM LLC fabricating mill announcement last year.
Though the chamber may tout a role in creating 3,000 jobs, the number of jobs in the Valley fell by 800 during the three-year period, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
There were 238,200 jobs in the tri-county area in January 2009 and 237,400 in January 2012.
During the same period, the civilian work force decreased from 274,000 to 262,000.
There’s also the question of the need for more economic development in the area through agencies such as the Western Reserve Port Authority.
The port authority is seeking revenue via the bed tax for economic-development purposes, but Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti says he first wants to see the authority’s track record.
Tony Paglia, vice president of government affairs for the chamber, said although the chamber is the main economic-development entity in the area, it still receives assistance from other entities such as the port authority.
“We try to stay with the company throughout the process,” he said. “There are other entities that can provide additional assistance.”
Paglia also said based on the number of early leads in 2012, economic- development efforts continue to trend in the right direction.
He said no new projects are imminent, but there are many opportunities “in the pipeline.”