Clay County Survey Shows Businesses Growing

Clay County businesses are growing and are primed for additional expansion according to a recently published survey by the Clay County Economic Development Council.

As it has for 12 years, the EDC used the nationally recognized Business Synchronist Information System to collect confidential information from 152 Clay County businesses over the past 12 months. This year, EDC Business Development Director Dr. Christian Sizemore was assisted by students of the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies. Included in the survey are start-ups, emerging firms, and long-established businesses.

Nearly half of the businesses reported plans to expand in the next three years; more importantly, these companies project more than $2.6 billion in capital investment and the creation of 293 new jobs by 2017. Economic recovery, along with attractive real estate and construction prices, are major factors in the optimistic projections.

A large majority of companies of all sizes and in all areas report heavy investments in new technology. New and advanced technologies are emerging for 58% of the companies, and these technologies will change either their product or how it is produced or marketed. This figure represents a dramatic decrease of 18 percent from 2013. It is significant to note that 16 percent of the respondents report that the county’s technology infrastructure is not adequate to meet their needs.

Among the findings was that Clay County businesses continued to grow and, most importantly, are positioned for future growth with improving economic conditions. While growth had slowed, 2014 results indicate local firms continue to develop and report conservative expansion plans and anticipated future growth.

Most of the companies identified their greatest achievements in the last three years to be growth, expansion, launching of new products and services, and increased customer retention. For only the fifth time in the 12 years of this survey, retention of businesses and customers was reported as major achievement. The uncertainty of the economy was a catalyst for many to undertake successful planning, re-organization, and introduction of new products and services.

Click here to download the executive summary in PDF format.