In 2018, Allen County’s economy made records with a record number of new jobs and new wages, according to Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.

GFW attributes the milestones to a steady stream of business expansions and relocations. The organization said it helped companies invest nearly $337 million in the county. 

GFW released the following statistics on the growth in 2018:

  • 33 business expansions and relocations (highest since 2013)
  • 2,445 new jobs (highest on record)
  • $115 million in new annual wages (highest on record)

Allen County is also making progress on several projects that will bring in more workers. Greater Fort Wayne said it was an exceptional year for the organization and the county as a whole.

“This organization is here to grow jobs, grow wages, and grow the economy. The numbers show 2018 was the best year we’ve ever had—even better than 2017,” said John Urbahns, CEO of GFW Inc. “We’re proud to play a part in Allen County’s economic success. The broader economic conditions are ever-changing, but we will keep raising the bar and demanding excellence as we work to build a nationally recognized economy.” 

Other factors went into Allen County’s record economic year. In December, county officials announced they had issued more than $1 billion in building permits for the second year in a row. 

The unemployment rate sat at 3.3 percent in October, better than the state’s 3.6 percent and the national 3.5 percent rates. 

Locally based companies such as Sweetwater, Aardvark Paper Straws and ElringKlinger were part of major expansions, investments and job additions to the area. GFW also teamed up with the AWS Foundation to connect local businesses with job placement agencies to help employ people with disabilities.

GFW expects 2019 to be another strong year with several large projects including Riverfront development, the Electric Works west campus, The Landing and new downtown hotels.

The organization is also starting the year with a new CEO, John Urbahns, who was promoted from his position as executive vice president of economic development. He is taking over after former CEO Eric Doden announced he wanted to move to the private sector.