The Executive Director of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, Laura Walls, appeared before the Marshall County Commissioners on Monday to give her quarterly report. Back in November she had given some numbers for 2021 and said she wanted to finalize them with the commissioners.
MCEDC saw an $80 million of capital investments in the county and the creation of 331 new jobs. She said it was both business expansion and business attraction that created the new jobs.
Walls was excited to announce that the sale of the Manufacturing Center at the corner of Jim Neu and Pioneer Drive has been completed. Divert Inc. is the new owner of the property, and they were able to begin their buildout of the new building on December 26th. Laura said they have a very aggressive time table to get operations up and going in a couple of months. This project will create 55 new jobs with an average wage of $30.48 hourly.
Commissioner Overmyer asked if Divert was a waste energy process and Walls confirmed that it was. Divert is multi-phased. She said, “This first phase is taking food waste from grocery stores and analyzing it. Divert shares the numbers with the grocery so they can make adjustments to their purchasing. Eventually their system will be completely contained and use the food waste to produce biofuel a couple of years down the road.”
In other business, Walls said the Labor data comparing December 2021 to December 2020 was interesting. She said 385 people were added to the labor force in December 21 compared to 2020. She said, “I never imagined I’d see a time when a county’s unemployment rate was below 1%. I’ve been at this long enough to remember 4 or 5% was considered full employment, but the low unemployment number coupled with the additional 385 people in the labor force, I think that is a significant data point. It’s not people dropping out, more people are working, and they are finding jobs which we all know just from driving around town that you shouldn’t have a problem finding a job right now.”
Mike Miley, President of the Marshall County Redevelopment Commission questioned the low unemployment numbers and asked how it impacts bringing new businesses to the area because there seems to be no workforce. She said they spread out 30 miles, which is 30 minutes or travel time. She said there are neighbors to the west with a higher unemployment rate. The regional numbers are less scary to employers.