It was a banner year for job growth and large investments in 2017, according to the latest data from Butler County officials.
Eighteen projects — 14 of them expansions and four of them new locations — represented the largest investment and job creators announced last year, according to the 2017 Growth Report for Butler County.
Those projects represent more $105 million in new investment, almost 1 million square feet in new construction, 746 new jobs created and at least 1,222 jobs retained.
“I was excited to see that 14 of the 18 projects listed in 2017 were expansions of existing businesses in Butler County,” Said David Fehr, the county’s director of development. “This shows that companies have confidence in Butler County and it is the right location for their business especially in an environment when many communities aggressively seek companies to relocate to their community.”
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Fehr said he also was “delighted” to see the wide variety of the types of businesses which expanded or re-located to the County.
“The diversity of businesses limits the county’s exposure if there is a sudden downturn in one particular industry,” he said.
Fehr said 2017’s numbers are “pretty comparable” overall to those of 2016, which saw $90,651,270 in large investment and 1,361 new jobs created.
Hamilton saw the largest investment by one company in 2017 with American Manpower Services Inc.’s $46 million investment, which created 200 jobs, making it the largest single creator of jobs in the county last year. In January 2017, American Manpower Services, the staffing entity that works exclusively for Darana Hybrid, received a $200,000 economic development grant to create those jobs, with a $9 million payroll, according to JobsOhio.
Darana Hybrid is a 100 percent Native American owned electro-mechanical contractor specializing in industrial, electrical, and mechanical installations, according to Jody Gunderson, Hamilton’s director of economic development, said
“Their presence in Hamilton is important because it diversifies our corporate and industrial business community,” Gunderson said. “They continue to grow at the Hamilton location and have a number of open positions (that) can be found at www.amps-staffing.com.”
Eleven of the 18 largest projects for 2017, including two new locations, are in West Chester Twp., representing slightly less than half of the job creation and more than $38 million, more than one third of all large investments.
“West Chester accounted for a little over half of the projects in 2016, so there was an uptick in 2017,” Fehr said.
The county has made “tremendous” infrastructure investments in West Chester including Union Centre Boulevard and the I-75/Ohio 129 and Liberty Way interchange, he said.
“West Chester is proud of its partnerships with the county, surrounding communities and the entire region; and is just one part of a much larger regional economic development landscape,” said Aaron Wiegand, the township’s community development director.
Wiegan said West Chester’s robust economic development history and sustainable future is first, and foremost, a product of the more than 3,500 businesses calling the community home.
“Successful businesses grow where other successful businesses have planted,” he said. “Companies such as Ikea, Topgolf, Duluth Trading Company, Main Event Entertainment and others who are entering the Cincinnati market for the first time are drawn to similar demographics and opportunities.
“Of course, West Chester Trustees’ demonstrated commitment to supporting economic development by investing in infrastructure, more than $320 million over the past 20 years, and maintaining a low tax environment also speaks to this success.”
Fairfield companies that made the list contributed more than $8.5 million in investment in 2017, creating 170 jobs and retaining 702, accounting for more than half the jobs retained.
Rounding out job creation efforts in Butler County is Magnode, a Trenton-based aluminum extrusion company that is set to open a new $13 million expansion that will create 50 new jobs while retaining 200.
Butler County is Ohio’s fastest-growing large county for jobs, and its weekly wage growth is 19th in the nation, according to new data reported earlier this month by this news outlet.