In these unsettling times anxiety over jobs is running high which is why I am very grateful for the new companies that have come to town bringing new jobs with them and why I’m cheering so loudly for some of our old stand-by companies that have made decisions to grow and add new jobs in Kent as well. Thanks to new jobs, the last time the City went to the voters with an income tax change Dynasty and Dallas were the top TV shows, Footloose was the top movie, Lionel Richie was atop the Billboard charts, and Ronald Reagan was serving his first term as President in 1984. My point is it’s been awhile. I hope we can push it off for another 24 years but that’s going to depend on keeping the momentum we’ve got started this year with Cambria adding 40 jobs, Alpha Micron adding another 20 jobs, Don Joseph Toyota adding 20 jobs, and Dip Tech adding another 10 jobs. That’s roughly 100 new jobs this year. Every job matters but 100 jobs can start to make a quantifiable impact.
We typically just talk about the direct economic benefits of new jobs from new income tax revenues but that actually undersells the ripple effect that new jobs have in our economy. The fact is jobs don’t occur isolation. Bring new people into Kent to work and those people need to fill up on gas, eat, buy office supplies, etc. and each of those expenditures add more money to the local tax base. It’s what the economists call a multiplier effect and we call fantastic.
In Kent the examples of the multiplier effect are probably most evident by the number of jobs in our City due to the presence of Kent State University. In survey after survey local businesses from across a range of business segments say that summer is consistently their slowest month of the year and it doesn’t take a PhD to correlate summer as the season without the student body, faculty and administrators in full force.
Of course the multiplier effect is evident in reverse as well. After Davey Tree moved out of their downtown Kent offices a wide range of support businesses were hit hard and many closed up shop.
The US Commerce Department offers a range of values to calculate what the multiplier should be for a range of business activities. Below is another effort that I came across that also try to demonstrate quantitatively the multiplier of 100 jobs, just like we’ve had here in Kent this year.