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Private business investment up in 2019

The year 2019 was a banner year for private business investment in the Mahoning Valley, where companies put in $284.2 million to grow themselves, and to increase and better equip and train their workforces.

Data compiled by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and its economic development partners in Trumbull and Mahoning counties show the companies invested in 66 projects that resulted in 1,851 new jobs.

The investments also helped retain 2,809 jobs, according to the chamber’s 2019 Economic Development Report Card, released this month.

“It was a good year when you look at the numbers,” said Sarah Boyarko, the chamber’s chief operating officer. “It was a very active year, not only for projects that ultimately closed in 2019 … but very active for a lot of incoming activities that we foresee to be closed in the next 12 to 24 months.”

To compare, 102 projects in 2018 resulted in $173.3 million of investment; 1,157 new jobs; and 3,271 retained jobs.

“We had a larger number of actual projects, but at a smaller dollar value of investments (in 2018),” Boyarko said. “Some of that varies year to year. In 2019, we had a nice number of employment opportunities created as well as significant investment because of the TJX HomeGoods facility.”

The investment activity contained in the report card ranges from the $140 million to $170 million TJX Companies Inc. warehouse for its HomeGoods brand, an off-priced home fashion and decor retailer, in Lordstown; to a $56,000 grant for Taylor Coil, also in Lordstown.

The steel coil processor, a division of Taylor Steel, was awarded the grant from the Ohio Rail Development Commission to rebuild fully the railroad spur at its Industrial Trace location to handle heavier loads.

The chamber partners with 15 agencies to gather data on economic development investment in the Valley annually. The entities’ combined resources assist companies with infrastructure investment, tax incentives, loans, project coordination, grant oversight, technical advisement, property development and other services.

Each agency provides project investment for business attraction, retention / expansion and / or startup; job creation / retention; and notable activity that occurred within its reporting year.

“The Area 17 Workforce Development Board and MCTA (Mahoning Columbiana Training Association) value our participation in this initiative as a means to effectively communicate our efforts to impact the overall economic development climate in our region,” said Bert Cene, executive director of the MCTA. “We utilize the publication data to assist us in developing our workforce development strategies to ensure we are providing the most efficient and effective services to both businesses and job seekers.”

CHAMBER’S ROLE

Of the $284.2 million, the chamber played a direct role in more than $213 million. That combined investment by businesses resulted in the creation of 1,218 jobs and retained 901 existing jobs in the Valley, according to the chamber.

As a result of these investments, the expected economic impact for the two-county area is the creation of 4,521 direct, indirect and induced jobs, $243 million of labor income from these jobs, $645,038 in county sales tax, $590 million of spending, $4.8 million in county property tax and $816,849 in state income tax.

Chamber staff supported the investments by helping securing grants, site selection for new construction, identification of existing buildings and access to a skilled workforce.

The chamber also has business retention and expansion program to gauge the needs and challenges of local companies, from supply chain to workforce issues. In addition, it worked to attract new business to Valley through a national and international outreach program.

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