Jobs Now!, a private and public initiative to support economic growth
in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, reported solid progress toward its
aggressive five-year goals in its annual report released June 20.
Independent consultant Dr. Sharon Younger told Jobs Now! investors
that during the last three years, the region created 20,511 net new jobs. That is
112% of the anticipated achievement rate at this point in the program. The five-year
goal is 35,000 net new jobs.
Jobs Now! is a coordinated regional economic development work plan,
supported by more than 170 private and public investors, including the City of Knoxville.
In the area of non-residential capital investment, the Innovation Valley performed
better than all of the other metro areas in Tennessee. The area has attracted $1.84
billion in the past three years - 141% of the progress anticipated to date.
A $5,000 increase in earnings per job is the third Jobs Now! goal. Younger said
federal data in this category is not yet available for 2005, but during 2003 and 2004,
the region saw an increase of $2,840 in average earnings per job, which is ahead of the
Younger said the Innovation Valley's momentum is impressive. But she also sounded
several cautionary notes. "The first five-year goals are ambitious, so the region must
continue to work together for economic progress and well into the future," she said.
"The Jobs Now! partners must continue well beyond that to support the growth of good jobs,
capital investment and earnings per job if the region is going to prosper."