Jonesboro, ARK, March 3, 2021–Jonesboro Unlimited (JU) is pleased to announce the addition of 842 direct new jobs to Jonesboro's economy in 2020. To date, almost 4,000 new jobs have been created in the first four years of Jonesboro Unlimited's five-year strategic plan.
"It is very encouraging that Jonesboro has been able to prevail through the most turbulent economic year in decades," said Mark Young, President and CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited, "When you have industries that were still hiring in 2020 despite the crisis caused by the pandemic, it shows Jonesboro’s economic base continues to thrive."
With the 842 jobs added in 2020, 3,965 direct new jobs have been created in the first four years of JU's five-year strategic plan. The total far outpaces the goal of 2,500 direct new jobs over five years.
"When we met our five-year goal after just three years, we promised we would not become complacent, and we didn't," said Chris Barber, Chairman of Jonesboro Unlimited, "We have always been confident that the diversity of Jonesboro's economy is an asset during uncertain financial times. Adding over 800 jobs in 2020 shows just how strong Jonesboro's economy is."
Manufacturing and healthcare, two of JU's five target industries, account for 87% of the job gains in the last four years. Professional services, agri-business, and logistics supplied the remaining 14% or 532 additional jobs over the previous four years.
Capital investment by Jonesboro companies stayed strong in 2020. Companies that responded to JU’s Survey of New and Expanding Industry reported a total of $87 million in capital investments. Over four years, Jonesboro companies have invested over $550 million.
"A number like that shows more than growth, it shows a confidence in our city and our people. When local companies invest over half-a-billion dollars over four years they aren't just looking out for themselves, they are stakeholders in the community," said Mark Young.
As part of Jonesboro Unlimited's continuing efforts to attract new business, today marked the launch of JU's new Virtual Building Program. The program is a collaborative effort between JU and the Nabholz Corporation in which a virtual building is constructed and placed on one of the available sites in Jonesboro's Craighead Technology Park. The computer animation demonstrates what an industrial facility would look like, starting with a 100,000 SF building and expanding up to 400,000 SF.
"It's a great tool for companies looking to invest in Jonesboro," said Mark Young. "We have great, shovel-ready sites with all the needed utilities. Combining those assets with a powerful visual element like this is another asset we have to market Jonesboro."
The annual meeting also served as the official launch of Jonesboro Unlimited's new, updated website and Steven Lamm's introduction as Jonesboro Unlimited's new Vice President of Economic Development. Lamm, an Arkansas State University Graduate, comes home to Jonesboro after spending several years with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and most recently as the Vice President of Workforce Development with the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"As a life-long Arkansan and an A-State grad, I am well aware of what a dynamic and growing community Jonesboro is," Lamm said, "My wife and I are excited to come back to a city that means so much to both of us."
Lamm's first day at Jonesboro Unlimited will be March 15.