Gainesville has more than 1,100 new manufacturing jobs, city officials reported this week.
Mayor Danny Dunagan announced the numbers in his state of the city address Tuesday, and Tim Evans, vice president of economic development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, emphasized on Friday that those numbers are just for the city, not the Gainesville metro area that also includes the entire county.
“For the last three years, we’ve been outperforming in investments more than we usually do,” Evans said.
“This year and last year we’ve been outperforming on jobs. This is outstanding to have 1,100 new jobs just inside the city limits of Gainesville. The numbers for all of Hall County are actually higher than this.”
During fiscal year 2012, the city reported the more than 1,100 new jobs, 705 retained jobs and investments of more than $125 million in the manufacturing sector, numbers that have continued to rise the past several years, according to the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
“I think for the economic times that we were in during that time and that we’re in now, I think those are very exciting numbers,” Dunagan said.
Evans explained the numbers include both new and existing industry expansion and that while the majority of the expansion is in manufacturing, some retail expansion, like the redevelopment of Lakeshore Mall, is included in the report.
There were also a significant number of international investments, including companies from Germany, Japan and Canada, that contributed to projects in fiscal 2012.
“The companies asked us not to disclose their individual investments, but in total, it represents 1.1 million square feet of commercial and industrial development, and that’s a conservative number,” Evans said.
As of Friday morning, 72 projects were in active status, including investments with a headquarters component, manufacturing, distribution and processing components, and existing industry expansion.
“Our pipeline of activity is really full right now. We’re really pretty active with new and existing industry expansion, and I’m encouraged it will continue,” Evans said.
While Gainesville should celebrate the new companies coming to town as well as established businesses that have retained jobs in this economy, Evans said there is still a need for more jobs and continued growth in the region.
“As much as we have enjoyed some growth in the last few years in jobs and investments, there’s still a need for quality jobs, especially when looking at unemployment rates in neighboring counties,” Evans said. “We’ve got a lot of people who commute into Gainesville and Hall County everyday for work, and we want to continue to support the region.”