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Jennifer Jackson, publisher, Springfield Business Journal
SBJ file
Jennifer Jackson, publisher, Springfield Business Journal

SBJ Economic Growth Survey: Publisher's Note

SBJ Economic Growth Survey: Inside the Vision

Posted online

Six community forums focused on Springfield Business Journal’s 2022 Economic Growth Survey have come to a close for the calendar year. This edition, and the five special publications that preceded it, highlight key data points and feature the voices of business decision-makers in our community. As the series began, SBJ set out to have a more action-oriented discussion than in years past. We felt like we had done a pretty good job leading up to the current season of identifying existing barriers to economic growth in the region: workforce shortages, supply chain deficits, soaring inflation, real estate volatility, no clearly identifiable sense of place and the absence of diversified funding sources for development, to name a few.

Here we are, one year later, and all of these barriers still challenge progress. In fact, nearly 90% of business leaders surveyed this year said the cost of doing business has worsened the most in the past year. Real estate is still in flux, and adding insult to injury, interest rates are higher than they have been in two decades.

It is not my intention at all to paint a picture of doom and gloom. Quite the contrary. I believe that identifying barriers is far more than half of the solution, and as I reflect on the 2022 series, I am encouraged by the creativity in our approach to these barriers. Over the course of this series, business leaders visited the newly operational Amazon Distribution Center and learned how the city of Republic has opened the door for public and private partnerships. We visited the Betty & Bobby Allison Sports Town that just opened its doors in northwest Springfield, while discussing the increasing potential to draw large competitive sports leagues and tournaments to the area. We saw the contributions of Johnny Morris and his family to the Finley Farms development in Ozark and heard from city administrators about the implications for surrounding businesses. We discussed workforce development in the newly constructed Plaster Manufacturing Center at Ozarks Technical Community College. We also discussed the vision and draw of downtown Springfield from the headquarters of Forward SGF.

I say thank you and well done, Springfield. We have a ways to go, but much to be proud of. Thank you to all who have given of your time take the surveys and your voice to forum discussions. It is my hope you will continue to help guide the forward momentum of our collective business community well into the future.

SBJ 2022 Economic Growth Survey collected April 29-June 22. Survey sample size of 235, with a +/- 5.4% margin of error and 95% confidence interval.

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