Monday, January 15, 2007
Accentuating the Positive
A few members of the local media recently focused our community’s attention on two Duluth businesses that, together, were relocating a few dozen jobs out of our beloved community. This news was dramatically heralded by one of our television news channels. The news was conveyed as ominous. How could this be happening... tune in at 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. for the details!
While the loss of a single job in Duluth is disconcerting and an event the Duluth Area Chamber tries to combat, the media needlessly amplified the angst associated with the loss of these jobs.
Regrettably, in doing so, the media also did something our community can ill afford: it accentuated the negative.
I feel compelled to provide my fellow Duluthians a broader perspective of Duluth’s jobs situation. By doing so, I hope to combat the sour news recently conveyed on the evening news. Let’s start with the broader view. Duluth enjoys being home to 2,871 businesses. These businesses provide 58,541 jobs.
There are several reasons for optimism when considering Duluth’s status as a center for jobs. But, let’s not simply take my word for it. Let’s go to some of the authorities. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) research of Duluth’s 2006 employment shows:
- Hospital services grew by 4.8%, or 281 jobs for a total of 7,028 positions,
- Ambulatory health services grew by 4.8%, or 291 jobs, amounting to 6,344 positions,
- Leisure and hospitality grew 2.1%, or 280 jobs for a total of 13,312,
- Service producing industries grew by 1.3%, or just over 100 positions,
- The Minnesota Job Bank has over 340 job openings posted for the Duluth area.
Manpower Inc. recently completed an Employment Outlook Survey. The results are in:
- During the first quarter of 2007, Duluth and Superior will be the area’s hiring leaders.
- Of the companies interviewed, 23% expect to hire more employees and only 7% expect to
reduce their payrolls. (The state average is 16% for hiring and 17% for payroll reduction.)
In his State of the City Address, Mayor Herb Bergson shared the following:
- Northstar Aerospace is expanding and planning to double its workforce from 90 to 180.
- Cirrus Design is planning to add another 250 jobs
- A & L Properties is embarking on a Downtown Renaissance project that will bring 120 construction jobs and 200 retail jobs.
- The new Sheraton Hotel, 311 Superior, is providing another 150 construction job.
- Canal Park Lodge is under construction. It is providing 100 building trade jobs and will provide 30 permanent hospitality jobs.
- Housing development is booming. Beacon Point, 311 Superior, Matterhorn Development, Harbor Highlights, Village Place, Cedar Ridge, Northridge Estates, Bridgemen Russell Apartments, Lester River Condos, Superior Vista Condos, and Duluth Water
and Gas Condos are some of the housing developments that are bringing jobs and investment to our community.
- In the last three years, over 1,000 new single family home and family units have been built in Duluth – totaling $492 million in construction. (I recall when, in the 1980s, an average of 35 homes would be built each year.)
- The value of all building permits, including electrical, mechanical and plumbing improvements, is a staggering $592 million in the last three years.
Other reasons for optimism include:
- A new commercial airline, Allegiant Air Service, commenced air service in Duluth in 2006.
- Another commercial carrier, Midwest Airlines, recently announced its arrival in our
- Monaco Air Duluth is revitalizing Duluth’s private airport.
- SMDC and St. Luke’s Hospital are hiring physicians and technical staff as a part of their
In summary, Duluth’s employment situation is bright. Duluth is poised for even greater economic success in future years. Duluth is a vibrant community, filled with people and ideas that have brought us to this position of strength.
We are a city that supports, cares for and creates opportunities for all our citizens. With a fascinating history and heritage as a hard-working industrial town, we have balanced and diversified our industrial roots with retail, healthcare, tourism, aviation and education.
Duluthians can also take pride in our city’s abundant natural beauty and cultural resources. Our emerald city on the hill, overlooking the greatest of the Great Lakes, is our competitive advantage. It affords us a quality of life that is unsurpassed.
I hope you will partner with the Chamber in heralding the abundant good news emanating from our Zenith City.
posted by David Ross