BG economy anxious PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 04 March 2013 10:22
File photo. An employee for Rosenboom Machine and Tool works with a couple of base ends on the company's factory floor in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green manufacturers had a good year by and large in 2012 - but anxieties remain over the economy and the unstable footing in Washington.
"Overall, in the manufacturing sector, the feeling the mayor and I have received has been generally good," said Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation as she spoke before the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
"Every February and March the mayor and John Fawcett and myself and several other members of the community try to visit every manufacturer in the city," she said. They have already visited 26 such businesses, with more appointments scheduled.
"We found that these visits were extremely important to the planning process that goes into the city budget, for me to know if there was a problem that maybe I could address in that particular company."
Overall, manufacturers in the city are "not seeing any serious problems down the road. A couple of them told us they had the best year ever in 2012," and some were already reporting that this past January was their best on record. 
"But on the whole, there is a certain air of caution out there," which is something new. In 2011, when the country was drowsily making its way out of the recession, businesses in the city were excited.
"I'm not feeling that excitement again," she said. Uncertainty in Washington - created by worries over last year's "fiscal cliff," the new health care laws, and the auto industry are pervasive.
"They're waiting for the other shoe to drop six or eight months from now," she said.
"Now, that's not to say that caution isn't healthy. I don't want people to overextend themselves so that there is excess capacity in the manufacturing sector."
While unemployment in the city is at 4.6 percent - which Clark characterized as essentially full employment - businesses are having difficulty finding and keeping employees.
"There's still a lot of problems with drug tests, pre-employment drug tests. But basically what a lot of them are saying is (applicants) are lacking the skills," especially basic math skills.
Businesses are saying "we cannot expand in Bowling Green anymore unless we have a more stable and more plentiful workforce."
Clark additionally noted that the foundation has sent out a survey, and among the results, nearly half of the 45 respondents thus far have indicated that they saw increased sales in 2012. Additionally, the workforce in the city grew by 532 employees over 2011.
"That should be making the city feel a little more confident about the future," she said.
"We're thinking that 2013 will be a very successful, very healthy year. There won't be a lot of flash."
Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2013 10:32

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