Quad Cities diversification proving to be economic strength

4 The Record

Region ranks highly for economic growth by magazine and website

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pandemic and the numbers we see on a daily basis.

19 million cases around the world, almost 5 million in the United States and 160,000 dead in the country.

Worst on the planet.

That’s the physical toll.

So far those numbers don’t show signs of slowing down, at least not in the United States.

Then there’s the economic toll.

We’ve seen more than 20 million jobs lost in the United States during the pandemic.

Unemployment is high across the country and in both Iowa and Illnois — 10 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively.

Iowa reports almost 105,000 people in the state filed continuing claims for unemployment benefits.

That number is 631,000 for Illinois.

Illinois just extended its jobless benefits by 20 weeks in response to the high unemployment.

You might think that spells gloom and doom for economic development.

There’s actually a silver lining for the Quad Cities.

Analysis done by Area Development magazine ranks the Quad Cities highly for economic growth: Seventh out of 85 metropolitan areas in the midwest.

Number one in iowa and fourth in Illinois.

Livability.com ranks Davenport with the third most diversified economy in the country, putting it in a strong position to recover from the pandemic faster than other parts of the country.

Now, the economic growth ratings are for 2019 before the pandemic hit.

Nevertheless, those are all encouraging signs given what we’re seeing nationally.

The diversification might be the most promising signs for a community once known almost exclusively for farming manufacturing.

These are strengths business leaders would like to keep growing.

I spoke with Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce President Paul Rumler about that on this week’s 4 The Record.

He started out by telling us to what he attributes that success and what businesses or industries he specifically thinks are the primary contributors to that improvement.

Of course, John Deere is still here.

But this are was once a big heavy machinery manufacturing hub.

There is the big push for clean energy.

Production of electric vehicles is expanding.

Tesla is focused on Texas for a new factory.

The e-v startup Rivian has a factory in Normal, Illinois.

Rumler discussed how much the Quad Cities tries to compete for these businesses and if it is an issue of tax incentives.

Watch the full conversation in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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