Union County business and local government representatives heard an encouraging report Jan. 26 about business and economic growth in Union County and the region.
The report was presented by Bill LaFayette, Ph.D., of Regionomics, LLC, a Columbus-based economic and workforce development consultant. He addressed about 60 community and business leaders at Thursday’s Business Impact Breakfast, sponsored by the Union County Chamber of Commerce at the Union County Services Center.
LaFayette compared the growth of various business segments in Union County, the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), Ohio and the U.S. from 2010 to present. In most cases, Union County has experienced the greatest percentage growth.
Jobs increased by 25 percent in Union County, compared to 14.2 percent in the Columbus MSA, 11.6 percent in the U.S. and 8.6 percent in Ohio.
In Union County, manufacturing jobs account for 25 percent of employment, compared to 7 percent in the MSA, 14 percent in Ohio and 9 percent in the U.S. Manufacturing job growth has slowed, but output continues to expand as automation takes a greater role.
LaFayette highlighted the importance of locally owned business. He said the retail business sector increased by 21 percent in Union County, more than half of that since 2015, compared to 5 percent in the MSA, 8 percent in the U.S. and 3.5 percent in Ohio.
Locally-owned businesses contribute more to the local economy than chain or franchise stores, he said.
He gave as an example: 64.9 percent of money spent at a locally-owned restaurant stays in the community, compared to only 30.4 percent for a chain restaurant.
Union County has also experienced growth in the professional and business services sector, construction, health care and transportation. He noted that a promising development in transportation is the U.S. 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, which will aid in development of autonomous vehicles.
The Chamber’s next Business Impact Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Union County Services Center. The topic will be the Council of Governments. For information, call the Chamber at 937-642-6279.