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Friday November 24th, 2017 2:21AM

Chamber of Commerce report details strong economic growth in 2016 in Hall County and more planned growth in new year

By Russell Brown Reporter/Anchor
The 2016 Year-End Summary Report from the Greater Hall Chamber Economic Development Council indicates 18 new and expanding firms will add nearly 800 new jobs and $163 million in new capital investment to Hall County and Gainesville this year.
 
“Gainesville-Hall County’s Economic Development success is a result of teamwork and the spirit of working together to the benefit of the community,” said Chamber Vice Chair of Economic Development, Brian Rochester.
 
“The Chamber provides a forum for the business community, educators and elected officials to work together on the issues that impact existing industries, small businesses, the healthcare community, retail and new business recruitment.”
 
According to the report, the 2016 announced capital investments do not include the newly started construction at the new Lanier Technical College Campus on Highway 365. Also not included in the 2016 results are capital investments announced in 2015 by Kubota, King's Hawaiian and Performance Foodservice, that are completing construction and will open in the first half of 2017.
 
According to the Vice President of Economic Development for the Hall County Chamber of Commerce, Tim Evans, the economic growth has led to a population growth.  
 
"Population growth has been steady at about 1.6% per year, but we expect 2017 to see an acceleration. And a large part of that is because of 3,500 new jobs added between November of 2015 and November of 2016. That is almost a 4% growth in the Gainesville-Hall County metro job market," said Evans.
 
"It is one of the reasons the Milken Institute named Gainesville-Hall County as the top small metro area in Georgia, number four in the nation for job growth and in the top ten nationally among best performing small metros."
 
Evans says this news brings a challenge.
 
"The unemployment rate stayed low at 4.1% in the most recent release, but we added more jobs in to the local job market. So a part of the challenge we face as a business community is making sure have the skills the businesses need. So we are working with the Workforce Development Task Force (comprised of several local high schools, colleges and businesses) to focus on getting the skills and talent those businesses need to replace an aging workforce."
 
Another sector showing growth in the report is Healthcare Services in Hall County with new medical office developments underway in Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch and Braselton. Recently, Northeast Georgia Medical Center announced that it will begin a new Graduate Medical Education Program in 2019, and it will grow to more than 170 Graduate Medical Residents by 2023. The new residency program is anticipated to have a $66 million economic impact on Hall County through 2023.

More information from the report is available through the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
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