Friday, January 11, 2002

New jobs should be high-paying, N. Ky. told

By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Recruiting hundreds of new jobs that pay more than $41,000 a year is the key to the future for Northern Kentucky's economy.

        That's the conclusion of a national expert brought in to measure economic conditions here against those throughout the country.

        “If things are left to chance, the quality of the economy will begin to dilute and flatten,” said Bill Fruth, head of Policom Corp., a Florida economic research firm.

        The Tri-County Economic Development Corp. hired Policom to chart a plan for economic growth. Mr. Fruth said increasing the wages of those jobs, not simply the number of jobs, is the key to economic growth.

        It's a theme that Northern Kentucky business leaders have echoed for months. With sparkling success bringing new jobs into Kenton, Campbell and Boone counties — many from huge warehouses — they now want the higher-paying jobs that come with finance, manufacturing, transportation and high-tech.

        “This set the bar for this area to increase the quality of jobs coming into the economy,” Danny Fore, president of Tri-Ed, said.

        In a presentation to business leaders at the Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell, Mr. Fruth concluded:

        • To meet forecasts, businesses here need to create 1,318 jobs this year, paying above the average wage and ramp up to 1,518 new jobs in 2011.

        • Job and wage growth here mirrored the most successful economies in the nation the last 10 years, but is projected to slow during the coming decade.


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