This week Columbus2020 will release a report that looks back at the 4th quarter of 2011 and provides a list of projects that were announced in the Columbus Region this past year. Over 150 companies announced they plan to expand within or to the Columbus Region, and many more quietly invested without any public record of it. Healthcare institutions in our Region continued to work on over $2 billion of advanced medical care facilities. The most recent national jobs report was the most positive in quite some time, topping relatively low expectations, but nonetheless positive. Urban Meyer signed several of the top recruits in the country…
Our economic development team, and many of its national peers, are seeing more companies move forward with capital projects, visiting communities and investigating opportunities to expand. There are even whispers of build-to-suit activity in the commercial real estate world – a very rare thing in the past four years. This means that many of the buildings best suited for modern logistics and manufacturing are now taken, and it may be required for companies to construct new buildings to fill their expansion needs.
However, the roadblocks are ominous. The national unemployment rate, and that of the Columbus Region, continues to fall, but the long-term unemployment and under-employment rates remain very (too) high. Healthcare administrators are under great stress as they plan for the future, and housing still – well – stinks. Most economic developers feel that the second half of 2012 may come to a standstill to await the outcome of the 2012 elections. This is fairly typical, but could be painful for an economy trying desperately to recover. Continued unrest and sabre rattling in the Middle East impacts supply chain and risk managers who are often central to new facility planning.
Our message is this – a lot of hard work in the Columbus Region and all over this country at a state and local level is paying off. The recession has challenged many and made us stronger in many ways. Sacred cows have been tossed aside for new models and we will ultimately be stronger for it. However, we face continued challenges and will have to keep up the hard work, continue to challenge the status quo, and move our communities, companies, and country forward.
Columbus2020 will issue two reports this week. The first report will detail the 4th quarter of 2011 while the second provides a snapshot of our activities in January 2012. As you will see, our team got off to a quick start this year. We are logging new projects into the pipeline, continuing outreach to local business and working to create the JobsOhio Network within the State of Ohio. We recently met with our Central Ohio delegation to keep them abreast of the many positive ways in which our Region is forging ahead. This week our team is traveling to New York and preparing for a pacific northwest mission next week.