Tracking economic growth

One of the fun things about my job is when I get to study local, statewide and national drivers of local economic growth, and then seek to understanding the leading indicators that show that very growth in our area.  We’ve said before that new business creation, job creation and workforce growth have all increased above the statewide average in the past ten years (with exception to wage growth) in Valley County, but one of the most fun indicators I get to watch is the growth in our sales tax receipts.

Aside from the year and a half the ethanol plant was built (and the additional temporary 500 residents in the county), 2010 is set to be the second-best year of collections on record since we started tracking it in 2001.  For nearly ten years, net taxable sales tax receipts in Ord and Valley County are growing at a level unseen, and 2010 is set to be our best year as long as projections hold out when you eliminate the time the extra workforce was in the area.  This correlates very well with our retail pull analysis, which shows local retail strength the best since 1991.

Nebraska Department of Revenue has all the details here.  Sales tax collections are an important piece in rural development efforts, especially in Ord because of our local option for municipal economic development.  For every dollar spent in Ord, 4/10 of 1% goes to a fund for economic development in which our office lends out in low interest loans to the local business community.  What does this mean?  The more you spend locally, the better you support the long term economic vitality in our communities.

This growth also coincides with the inception of Valley County Economic Development.  This is certainly not a coincidence.  Aggressive, proactive rural development is one critical piece of the pie to built strong, viable small towns.  There are a whole host of others, which we’ll cover soon.

~ Caleb



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