Last week, the 2012 Economic Development Report Card “Valley Economic Update” was released, highlighting the incredible growth the Mahoning Valley has seen since shale development came to the region. Economic development agencies in the area assisted in creating or retaining more than 7,000 jobs in 2012, with total investments exceeding $400 million.
The report shows that the economic development groups were involved in 118 projects equaling $406,542,586 and producing 1,641 new jobs while retaining and maintaining 5,553 jobs. The report also showed that the Youngstown-Warren region’s unemployment numbers were lower than the national averages seven times during the year. The unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent in 2011 to 8.1 percent in 2012, and 2,600 jobs were added to the region during 2012. Job increases were seen in manufacturing, with a 1.6 percent increase, trade with 2.6 percent, education and health services with 1.4 percent, and leisure and hospitality with 2.8 percent.
Of major announcements in the area during 2012, oil and gas topped the list, with Pennant Midstream LLC’s plan to spend $300 million on pipeline infrastructure and a natural gas processing plant in eastern Mahoning County. Oil and gas also provided increased attraction when the Youngstown Ohio Utica and Natural Gas Conference & Expo grew to 1.5 days with 120 exhibitors and 1,500 attendees coming to town to discuss opportunities in the burgeoning industry.