This is the issue, Newberry needs jobs, and we need jobs now. As a teacher, I want to give our kids the option to stay here in Newberry when they’ve finished with their schooling. Right now, it is extremely difficult for us to attract high performing graduates back to Newberry because there isn’t anything for them to do here. Here are some ideas I have for bringing in new jobs.
One way to create more jobs in Newberry is for us all to “shop local”. Shop local means we purchase as much as we can from locally owned businesses. This creates jobs because, as economic research shows, local businesses put more of their revenue back into the community than do non-local businesses. For example, a study in Michigan County found that if residents shifted just 10% of their purchases to local businesses it would add 1,600 jobs and $53 million in payroll[i]. This same study found that for every $1 million of revenue a locally owned business generates about $900,000 of it goes back into the local economy. On the other hand, a non-locally owned business, for every $1 million of revenue, will only put $600,000 back into the community. Also, a locally owned business will create 15 jobs for every 10 that a non-locally owned business creates. When we compare these, it is obvious which businesses your commission should be proactively seeking out[ii].
Another study in Illinois found that on average a locally owned business generates $179 per square foot of economic activity while a non-locally owned generates just $105. This can translate into higher commercial property value which is one way to create lower personal property taxes.[iii] Simply put, this means you pay less when your commissioners support local business. Finally, a third study in Maine found that local businesses returned 3 times as much money to the community as did big chain stores.[iv]
Clearly, spending more of our money at local businesses can create more jobs in Newberry. So, the question becomes how can the City help? First, we should educate our own workforce. From the Commission on, we should be role models for local purchasing. Second, we need to use our communication channels to educate our residents. Third, we need to support the Chamber if it chooses to enact a “buy-local” campaign.
Lastly, we, the City, need to work on attracting high-end technology and medical industries. We do this through offering incentives and making Newberry attractive to them. Many of these industries can headquarter anywhere since they are mainly Internet based. We need to work as a City to show them why they need to headquarter here with us.
[i] Local Works: Examining the impact of local businesses on the W. Michigan economy. Civic economics. September 2008.
[iii] The Andersonville study of retail economics. Civic economics, October, 2004.
[iv] The Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses vs. Chains: A Case Study in Midcoast Maine by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine, September 2003.