6-10-2020 – Despite slump, industrial development continues

Posted on: June 10th, 2020 by admin

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June 10, 2020

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By Guy Lucas
guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Jun 09, 2020 5:32 PM

 

Although nearly 30,000 people across the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton region lost their jobs in March and April, the economic damage is uneven, local business officials said Tuesday.

 

Some employers continue to grow and are still hiring new workers, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission. The EDC posts notices of new jobs every day on the “Caldwell Is Hiring” page on Facebook.

 

“The strange thing is we see new businesses wanting to come in,” she told the EDC’s board of directors Tuesday.

 

In just the past week, the EDC developed three new leads for potential industrial recruitment, she said.

 

Although the coronavirus-related economic slowdown hit the Hickory region harder than the rest of the state — the region’s unemployment rate of 17.6% in April was the highest among the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas — the area is benefitting from “a transformational change” in industrial site selection, Murray said. Companies are increasingly considering sites in smaller communities rather than only considering sites near large cities.

 

The EDC is set to launch an ad promoting Caldwell County to business leaders. It uses the headline “Biotech in the Blue Ridge Mountains” and points to businesses such as Exela Pharma Sciences, Stallargenes Greer and Adhezion Biomedical, but it then says that a lot more kinds of industries have chosen Caldwell, and it lists the area’s major employers, running the gamut from meat processor JBS to Google.

 

“It’s really up to us to capitalize on this change,” Murray said.

 

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, Murray promised there would be a good local economic announcement soon, but she provided no details.

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