Tuesday, June 18 2019
Morrison, IL -- The 2018 Employment Base Growth for Whiteside County showed positive gains for local industries, especially when compared to the State and neighboring counties. Whiteside County’s 4th quarter employment base showed a +1.9% gain, putting it in the 70th percentile when compared to its peer group of 548 “small counties” nationwide. The State ranked last for the 4th quarter compared to other states, with +0.4% growth.
For 2018, Whiteside County also showed solid gains of +1.4% putting it in the 63rd percentile nationwide versus it peer group of “small counties”. This number put it well ahead of the State and neighboring counties.
Comparison for Whiteside County – Employment Base Growth
Source: Analysis of US Bureau of Labor Statistics Covered Employment & Wages
Rankings for Whiteside and Ogle Counties are based on 548 small counties with 50,000 up to 150,000 population in 2018; rankings for Lee and Carroll Counties are based on 2152 micro counties (population lower than 50,000), and ranking for Cook County is based on 44 mega counties.
Gary Camarano, Whiteside County’s Economic Development Director said, “These are favorable numbers, and while the economy in general had a lot to do with it, the comparison to our county neighbors and the State indicates there is a lot more going on here than just luck, or ‘a rising tide raising all boats’. Our local businesses and economic development partners played a big part in our growth, especially when compared to the State’s numbers. We have seen a lot of growth among our locally grown businesses, and their proactive actions and collaborations with our local Economic Development partners is paying off. Programs like the Multicraft Extended Internship Program and the Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone are making a difference.”
Camarano added, “It’s not only those programs, it’s programs at the Whiteside Area Career Center, Morrison Tech’s new Innovation Center, Sauk Valley Community College’s commitment to training programs, and local Economic Development groups like Greater Sterling Development, Morrison Area Development, Sauk Valley Area Chamber, municipalities like Sterling, Rock Falls, Morrison and Fulton to name a few of the many contributors. However, the real champions in this is are the private sector businesses, and their commitment to the region, that are investing in new and expanded facilities, and hiring new employees. It’s a real collaboration between the private and public sector that is fueling the growth.”
The numbers for 2018 also show an economy that is diversifying. While manufacturing, the largest contributor to the region’s GDP, showed a solid 7.6% growth in employment, professional services came in with a strong 11% growth in jobs. Camarano pointed out, “Expansions at Halo Branded Solutions, Verifacts, Steel River Systems and Focus Group are certainly helping the drive the growth in the professional services sector, and further expansion is expected. An economy showing diversification is very welcomed.”
Maintaining positive growth like this will be a challenge for the County, but there has been a lot of progress made, and the private public collaborations are in place and growing. Camarano ended by commenting, “This is a very resilient, proactive community with a lot of good ideas and people. I think we are all looking forward to the challenge and the future.”
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