Everything Is Coming Up Job Growth For 2015 In Gahanna

“The overall news is pretty good.” That was the message that Dr. Bill LaFayette preached at the Creekside Conference and Event Center as the 18th Annual Groundhog Day Economic Forecast Breakfast took place on January 30 in Gahanna.

LaFayette, who is the founder and CEO of Regionomics, an economic consulting firm based out of Columbus, gave the Keynote Presentation to an audience of approximately 200 attendees.

LaFayette gave a presentation, which was very positive and encouraging for the most part on job growth and economic development.

“I’ve been giving these speeches for 15 years now,” LaFayette said. “They’re fun now. For the first time, I don’t have to tell you to ‘brace for impact’. Things are good, both locally, and nationally.”

According to LaFayette’s 2015 Regionomics Columbus Forecast, the unemployment rate in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which covers ten counties, is four percent even, compared to that of Ohio (4.8 percent) or the United States as a whole (5.4 percent). “Hiring has reached a pre-recession peak,” LaFayette added. In contrast, LaFayette added that the unemployment rate numbers only count the people who are actually actively looking for work, as the labor force itself continues to decline.

“The labor force started to fall in the Recession, and has continued falling ever since. The share of people in the labor force is the lowest since the late 1970s,” LaFayette said. “The four percent unemployment rate is real.”

Despite the labor force drop, employment is projected to surpass one million in 2015. 80,600 jobs were added to the Central Ohio region from January 2010 to June 2014, according to the numbers LaFayette presented, with a 9.2 percent increase in jobs.

In regards to the economy for Gahanna, LaFayette said, “The economy in the 43230 zip code (which serves most of Gahanna) is widely diversified, more diversified than in many zip codes in Central Ohio”.

The message that Gahanna’s leaders promoted at the breakfast was this, “Gahanna is growing.” There was almost three times as much capital investment in Gahanna in 2014 than there was in 2011. There were almost twice as many new businesses that opened in Gahanna in 2014, than in 2012. 269 residential units were constructed in 2014, compared to only 13 units each in 2011 and 2012.

The City of Gahanna Director of Planning and Development Anthony Jones is optimistic about the continuous growth in Gahanna.

“2015 is going to be a good time. Make it a wonderful year,” Jones said as he concluded the Breakfast.

The growth in Gahanna continues on an upward scale as new businesses and developments have come to the East Side suburb in the last few years. 621 jobs and 88 companies were added to Gahanna in 2014.

The Department of Development connected with 1,889 businesses in 2014. 3,689 inspections were made in 2014, with an average of 68 a week. Jones added that the 2015 Economic Plan for Gahanna is scheduled to be complete by the end of March.

If the optimistic forecast for the economy was good news at the Groundhog Breakfast, it was bittersweet news for Gahanna’s Mayor Becky Stinchcomb, who last year announced that she was stepping down at the end of her current term at the end of this year.

“Thank you for the investment in community,” Stinchcomb said, addressing the crowd. “Thank you for the friendship and support that you have give my staff the last 14 years.

In other news, Gahanna is working with Bexley and Whitehall on a fiber network expansion, with the help of State Senator Kevin Bacon (R, Minerva Park) and State House Representatives Anne Gonzales (R, Westerville) and Heather Bishoff (D, Blacklick).

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