LAEC reports positive job numbers for 2013

LONGMONT — Growth at Longmont’s most well-known companies in 2013 led to the community’s largest net increase of new primary jobs since 2005.
The city’s primary employers – those who sell their goods and services outside the region – gained a net 615 new jobs in 2013, according to a year-end report from the Longmont Area Economic Council, a membership business group. In 2005, primary employers added 631 jobs, according to data from the member-supported economic group. In 2012, 164 net new jobs were added by primary employers.

“We saw a dramatic increase (in jobs) in 2013 over 2012, which is a positive,” said Wendi Nafziger, interim president of the LAEC. “We’re seeing a lot of activity right now, and we’re excited for the growth of our primary employers.”

Of 211 primary-employer companies in Longmont, 71 added 952 new jobs in 2013, according to the report. Nine new companies in Longmont in 2013 accounted for another 144 jobs.

On the other side of the coin, 17 companies closed or moved out of Longmont last year, resulting in a loss of 241 jobs. Another 40 existing companies in Longmont cut 240 employees in 2013, according to the report.

The commercial real estate vacancy rate also dropped in 2013 from the year before, according to the report. At the end of 2013, 1.32 million square feet of space was on the market – a 15.4 percent vacancy rate, according to the report. At the end of 2012, the vacancy rate was 18.4 percent.

Longmont Area Economic Council representatives meet with companies looking to move to the community from somewhere else – 48 companies in 2013, according to the report. That “prospect” number was down slightly from 52 prospect companies in 2012, according to the report.

Nafziger declined to comment on the group’s search for a new president and chief executive officer, referring search questions to Andy Bade, chairman of the LAEC’s board of directors. Bade, executive director of facilities and engineering at Amgen Corp.’s plant in Longmont, did not return a call requesting comment.

Former director John Cody left Longmont in August to take a job as director of economic development for the city of Thornton. The LAEC is a 501 c (6) nonprofit that operates as a public-private partnership funded by area companies and the city of Longmont.

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