Business

GWEDC's jobs tally for last year: 697

The Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition cited the poor economy for keeping it from hitting 2009 jobs and investment goals.

Coalition officials summed up their performance at an annual meeting with their business and government overseers on Thursday.

Last year, the coalition worked with nine companies to attract or retain 697 jobs.

"We are thrilled to have them," coalition president Vicki Pratt Gerbino said of the promised jobs.

The coalition only counts jobs and investment for projects on which it helped.

Gerbino said the difficult economy has meant her staff has focused on opportunities and threats posed by companies looking to consolidate.

For instance, Nex-Tech had considered closing its Wichita facility, Gerbino said, but after working with the coalition decided to keep the 150 Wichita-area jobs and bring in 85 more from a closing plant.

On other measures for 2009:

* The average pay of those jobs was $54,147, higher than the metro average of $39,529.

* Projected capital investment of $47.8 million was about two-thirds of its goal.

* 45 percent of the jobs were outside of aircraft manufacturing.

* The return on investment, as calculated by Wichita State University, is $1.70 in tax revenue for every $1 spent by government for economic development, exceeding the goal of $1.30.

Gerbino said there are signs 2010 should be a better year for economic developers.

"We hear from our companies enough to be cautiously optimistic," said Gerbino. "They believe their order books in 2010 will be better."

The projects landed in 2009 and their promised 10-year job total include:

* Nex-Tech Aerospace, 150 retained and 85 new jobs averaging $42,640

* Premier Processing, 100 new jobs averaging $33,467

* LDF Properties, 129 retained and 10 new jobs averaging $51,095

* Airbus North America Engineering, 80 new jobs averaging $126,233

* Cox Machine, 50 new jobs averaging $37,024

* Cargill Oilseed Division, 45 retained jobs averaging $65,555

* LKQ/Keystone Automotive, 30 new jobs averaging $49,816

* Liebherr-Aerospace, 10 new jobs averaging $60,000

* Document Resources, eight new jobs averaging $34,590

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