Business rebounds in county
While the economy hasn’t made a full recovery, there are signs that things are getting better locally.
And, Faribault County is reaping some of the improvement.
“January was super, super busy for us. There is definitely economic activity going on in the county,” says Linsey Warmka, executive director of Faribault County Development Corporation.
At a recent meeting of the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority, Warmka told board members her office assisted five people interested in starting a business and five existing businesses.
“Four of the businesses were from Blue Earth and the others from greater Faribault County,” she says. “Six of the 10 were new clients of FCDC.”
Earlier this month, Greater Mankato Growth released figures showing Blue Earth and Nicollet counties added more than 1,100 jobs in January.
Faribault County also saw a spike in the number of jobs.
In December 2009, the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent and reached a high of 10.2 percent in March 2010.
Last December, the rate decreased 1 percent from the previous year to 7.7 percent.
“That means an increase of nearly 70 full-time jobs. However, our county did have an increase in the jobless rate in January to bring down the gain in jobs slightly,” Warmka says.
Even if the jobs have a starting wage of $10 an hour, she adds, the gross amount annually total almost $1.5 million.
Warmka has kept her word of being “more visible and accessible” to all communities in the county since becoming FCDC’s executive director in January.
Her schedule involves going to county and city council meetings, talking with local leaders and meeting with regional officials regarding financial and business assistance programs.
Warmka is getting some needed help, having hired an administrative assistant.
Ann Kluenenberg of Big Lake was selected from a pool of 55 applicants and began her new job on March 21.
For Kluenenberg, she’s returning to a familiar area, being a native of Pilot Grove Township.
A graduate of Albert Lea High School, she has worked for the Big Lake Police Department and Faribault County Sheriff’s Department until 2006.
“I think it’s going to be interesting and challenging,” she says. “It’s great to be back. I have a lot of friends. It’s like coming back home for me.”