REDI Report – August 27, 2016

Lots to cheer – on the gridiron and in local economic development

By the time you read this, week two of the 2016 Yellowjacket football season will be in the books. Hopefully we’ll have another notch in the win column to report and Lebanon Mayor Josh Ray can have all the bragging rights in his “Tale of Two Cities” with Waynesville Mayor Luge Hardman. All jokes aside, it is nice when two somewhat neighboring communities can have friendly competition that puts a little spotlight on both cities. I commend both mayors for taking to social media to promote the game and their respective communities.

Speaking of things to cheer for, we continued to have solid news on the unemployment front for Lebanon and Laclede County for the month of July. Last month, our unemployment rate was 5.9 percent. This was our lowest July tally since the same month in 2007. The July number was just short of a half percent better than last year’s rate of 6.3 percent as well.

A lot of our employers have been putting people to work and still have openings to fill, so I encourage job seekers to reach out to the Missouri Career Center at (417) 532-6146. I also want to thank the many employers who participated earlier this week in Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s Job Fair at the Cowan Civic Center. While overall foot traffic at job fairs is down from recent years, they are still extremely valuable forums to connect job seekers with employment opportunities. Even if only one person in our local economy found a job, it was well worth doing this event.

Another opportunity to reach job seekers is right around the corner, as the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo is slated for Sept. 17 at the Cowan Civic Center. Last year, the Chamber and Local Makes Sense added a job fair portion to the event to much success and this year looks to yield similar results. Of course, businesses and entities will also be showcasing their offerings as part of the general expo as well. This is a great event that gets interest from thousands so I encourage businesses to participate to get the maximum impact for your business needs. For more details, reach out to Jessica or Darrell at the Chamber at 417-588-3256.

I want to also commend the continued commitment of local businesses for either expanding at their current facilities or even new construction to meet their growing needs. It shows that they value our community as a place to do business not just today or tomorrow, but also years into the future. That is so important when trying to attract others to join our wonderful city and county. I will have some upcoming trips to other states to connect with decision makers to let them know they we are on the map and want to be considered for development opportunities from newcomers and our long tenured entities. Being able to showcase such growth and development gives us much better standing than some communities that are having struggles in other parts of the nation. I say “kudos” to our business community for having such a mindset.

On that note, I want to wish everyone a safe, enjoyable weekend!

(Brian Thompson is the President/Chief Executive Officer of Lebanon-REDI. He may be reached at his office at 200 E. Commercial Street at 417-533-5627, by mobile phone at 417-288-9737 or by e-mail at

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