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“Business friendly” Longmont results in fast pace job growth

Posted on: Apr 9 16

by: admin

Longmont added more jobs in 2015 than in any year in the past decade, but the downsizing and relocation of two companies meant that the city had a net loss of six jobs.

Primary employers (defined as companies that have more than 50 percent of their revenues coming from outside the metro region) added 1,685 jobs to the local economy last year.

But 1,691 positions were lost within the city, according to an annual report by the Longmont Economic Development Partnership released March 31.

Half of those losses were caused by only two companies: pharma giant Amgen, which is ceasing Colorado operations, and DigitalGlobe, which completed its move to Westminster in July.

Expansion by existing employers created the majority of jobs: 1,538 of 1,685, or 91 percent.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity of small business expansions,” said Wendi Nafziger, vice president and director of primary industry development for LEDP. And in conversations with existing businesses, leaders are “cautiously optimistic” about their potential to expand and create jobs in the coming year.

That also creates potential for divisions of existing companies to relocate to Longmont, something Nafziger said the LEDP was focusing many of its resources on.

And as always, the organization is on the hunt for a big-name employer that would bring lots of jobs in one fell swoop.

Longmont has the space and opportunity to accommodate a major player. The 70-acre Amgen campus is expected to be sold this year, and 350,000 square feet formerly leased by Seagate Technology went on the market in March.

Seagate remains Longmont’s top employer, and its purchase of Dot Hill brought the total number of employees to 1,559 from 1,387, after just under 70 people were laid off in September.

“Longmont is an attractive location for business both because of it’s business-friendly climate (and) because it’s a great place to live,” said Cindy Martni, senior communications manager at Seagate. “So (the city is) attracting a lot of the top talent we seek.”

The city is also well positioned to receive trickle down benefits from high-profile businesses in Boulder, such as the Google and the planned Twitter expansion.

“You’re going to have more companies that want to be close to those campuses,” said Kyle Snyder, chairman of the board for the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re going to be able to offer those partnering companies a much better economic environment than buying or building in Boulder.”

Snyder also believes the ramping up of construction in the town will make it more attractive as a place for employees to live, which will in turn spur a growth in businesses to serve the growing population.

“In a year or two, Longmont could be the biggest city in Boulder County,” Snyder said. “The world sees Boulder more than they see Longmont, and for us to grow and overtake them in population and have growth potential that they don’t have puts us in a unique position.”  Source: Daily Camera

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