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      Grants Pass/
   Josephine County,
Summary data from business visitations and surveys
                AUGUST 2008
                        We believe our existing firms are our best pros-
                        pects for future growth. The purpose of this pro-
                          gram is to see how we can help them grow.


                                  BUSINESS SURVEY/ VISITATION

                                      SUMMARY REPORT

                                                  AUTHORED BY:
                                                Charlie Mitchell, CEcD
                                                 BR&E Program staff
                                                     August 2008

                                      DATA AND SURVEY DEVELOPMENT:
                                               Rebecca L. Reid

                                             For more information contact:

                                                   Charlie Mitchell

                                                     Jon Jordan
                                Grants Pass/ Josephine County Chamber of Commerce

             Program information, including electronic versions of this report, is available on this website:


"This Project is funded in part with a grant from the Oregon State Lottery through the Regional Investment
    Fund, administered by the State of Oregon Economic and Community Development Department."
Grants Pass/ Josephine County,                           The history
                                                         In 1998, the City of Grants Pass was seeking to de-
Oregon Business Retention &                              velop a business retention and expansion program.
Expansion (BR&E) Program                                 At the same time, the Grants Pass/ Josephine
                                                         County Chamber of Commerce called together its
Introduction                                             Business Retention & Expansion Committee which
Every community needs to pay attention to its ex-        had been on hiatus for a number of years. Through
isting businesses. The Grants Pass/ Josephine            research conducted by the City, the Chamber Com-
County Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E)           mittee ultimately decided to undertake a program
program is a key element to communicate with lo-         developed by the Minnesota Extension Service. At
cal businesses and develop strong local economic         the time the Western Rural Development Center
development efforts. While attraction of new busi-       was housed at Oregon State University in Corvallis
nesses and encouragement of new business start-          and would be able to provide a significant amount
ups are important parts of an overall economic de-       of technical assistance and guidance at little or no
velopment strategy, many communities across the          cost to the community.
country now recognize the need to do more to help
existing businesses survive and grow.                    In early 1999, the program was launched and the
                                                         first round of business visitations and surveys was
The survey conducted by the Grants Pass/ Jose-           conducted. The effort won the “Sustainable Ore-
phine County Chamber of Commerce BR&E Com-               gon” award from Gov. John Kitzhaber that year. In
mittee is one way to understand the needs and aspi-      2001, the program won an international community
rations of our local businesses. The survey results      award from BREI (Business Retention and Expan-
are used to develop strategies that help businesses      sion International). The awards were due mostly to
remain and expand in Josephine County.                   the fact that the program had demonstrated real re-
                                                         sults from its efforts, namely enabling one or more
Objectives                                               key local manufacturers to expand their facilities
1. To demonstrate to local businesses that the           and add jobs. One of the most visible success sto-
   community appreciates their contributions to          ries is the development of the Spalding Commerce
   the local economy.                                    Park, initiated in part from the 1999 survey results.
2. To help existing businesses solve problems.
3. To assist businesses in using programs aimed at       Each year, an annual retreat/ planning session is
   helping them become more competitive.                 held to look back on the previous year’s accom-
4. To anticipate future local business issues and        plishments and look ahead to planning for future
   trends and develop strategies to address these.       activities and strategies. It was determined that
5. To build community capacity to sustain growth.        comprehensive surveys would be conducted every
6. To specifically identify those businesses poised      three years, so a second round of surveys was con-
   to expand that need assistance to grow.               ducted in 2002. In 2003 the format of the annual
7. To develop collaborative relationships.               meeting was changed to become more akin to an
8. To identify opportunities to attract support busi-    annual economic development forum, complete
   nesses.                                               with professional speakers and an awards program.

Sponsorship                                              2005 marked the third round of surveys and the
This program is sponsored locally by the Grants Pass/    third year for the annual forum under the new for-
Josephine County Chamber of Commerce with support        mat. Both activities were bigger and better than in
from the City of Grants Pass and Josephine County.       previous years. 2008 marked the 10th anniversary
Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc.      of the program and the fourth round of surveys.
(SOREDI), Rogue Community College, Oregon Em-
ployment Dept., The Job Council, Pacific Power, Avista
Utilities, and the Oregon Economic & Community De-
velopment Dept. are also keep supporters of BR&E.
Why is Business Retention & Expan-                       dramatically different in the post-9/11 era. Did the
sion (BR&E) important?                                   businesses add the jobs they anticipated after 1999?
Our slogan in 1999 was, “We believe our existing         Many expansion projects were placed on hold. Most
firms are our best prospects for future growth. The      businesses were on track to meet their projections
purpose of this program is to see how we can help        until the catastrophic economic events of 2001-2002
them grow.” That statement continues to hold true        set in. One thing is certain; businesses in 2002 were
today and has worked its way into local economic         less optimistic than they were in 1999. Still, most of
development policy and is evident in some of the         them were planning for healthy future growth.
major business growth projects happening today in
the Grants Pass area. Virtually all new projects, job    In 2005, the optimism seemed to have returned for
growth and capital investment are due to existing        the most part. Businesses were again looking to the
businesses expanding. The BR&E team has been in-         future for growth, and many grew significantly since
volved in most, if not all, of the projects in one way   2002. Most local businesses survived the recession
or another. We’ve demonstrated our ability to suc-       very well, and some even thrived. The size of the
cessfully transition business relocation efforts such    labor force and the number of people employed lo-
as Encore Ceramics and Fire Mountain Gems into           cally were at historic highs in 2005. Dozens of area
successful BR&E efforts by providing continuing          businesses are in one phase or another of a local ex-
and ongoing assistance even after the business came      pansion effort. More business surveys were com-
to town. It’s classic “service after the sale.”          pleted in 2005 than in 2002 or in 1999.

Most new jobs are created by existing, smaller busi-     The 2008 survey revealed a continuation of the three
nesses. Beyond that, the return on the investment of     -year economic cycle seen in
financial and human resources is much greater when       previous surveys as a na-            78
invested in local businesses than on new business        tional recession loomed in
recruitment. And lastly, a happy and healthy local       the post-housing crisis era.   business
business climate will actually make new business         Generally speaking, busi-       surveys
recruitment much easier as existing businesses be-       nesses surveyed were rather
come ambassadors for the community.                      apprehensive about the fu-         were
                                                         ture, yet still continued to  completed
The process                                              prove their dynamism with
There are many methods to conduct a successful lo-       significant and on-going        in 2008.
cal BR&E program. One of the ways this program           capital and technology in-
differs from others is that it uses local community      vestments.
leaders as volunteers to visit with the business own-
ers and managers in a one-on-one sit-down visit/         What’s different between the 2008 sur-
survey at the interviewee’s place of business. A key     vey and data and the previous ver-
benefit of this approach is the relationship-building    sions?
that it inherently fosters. This approach is also much
more cost-effective than hiring “professionals” to       Number of businesses surveyed. In 1999, we
collect the data for the community.                      set out to visit around 95 businesses and collected
                                                         data from 61 when all was said and done. In 2002,
In 1999, when the Grants Pass/ Josephine County          we set out to visit over 140 and ended up collecting
BR&E project conducted its first formal comprehen-       data from only 37, with five being considered incom-
sive business visitation and survey program, local       plete. In 2005 we set out to visit 100 businesses and
businesses were riding the crest of an exciting eco-     completed 66. In 2008, we set out to visit around 105
nomic wave. One of the most revealing facts from         businesses and completed 78, our highest completion
this effort was that 45 of the 61 businesses surveyed    number and rate to date.
were planning to add 1,200 new jobs over the next
three years. Three years later in 2002 the world was     The types of businesses surveyed. In 1999,
we targeted every non-government business with over       launching it in late January.
100 employees, then took a sample of businesses by        Red Flag Review. In each round, after the surveys
SIC code in manufacturing, wholesale trade and some       were completed and returned, the Committee meets to
service sector. In 2002, we visited a broader mix of      review each survey and decide on how to handle the
businesses, including some we had visited previously      immediate follow-up. The Red Flag review is de-
and many new, smaller businesses, including several       signed to identify and deal with immediate issues or
retail businesses. Some of high refusal rate may have     problems discovered during the survey process, with-
been due to the types of business, but may also have      out waiting for formal analysis of the survey data.
been due to such things as: state of the economy and      Prompt attention to issues raised creates a positive
businesses’ comfort level, inadequate visitor training    response from survey participants and builds good
and follow-through, and the fact that the survey proc-    rapport and trust. The Committee addressed 94
ess and instruments were not fully understood by the      unique Red Flag issues in 2005 and in 2008 we ad-
visitors or the businesses. The 2005 and 2008 surveys     dressed 94 unique issues among 41 businesses. Of
were very similar to 1999 in that we targeted every       these, 13 needed assistance with some aspect of a cur-
private sector employer with over 100 employees and       rent or planned business expansion. Issues ranged
sampled “traded sector” (and a few non-traded sector)     from complaints about governmental agency services
businesses to round out a list of around 100 busi-        to training and workforce needs to expanded infra-
nesses. Generally speaking, the list of businesses cho-   structure issues to information on legislation.
sen is based on a selection of businesses which have
the ability to make significant impacts on the local      People involved in the local
economy, both positive and negative. The list was         BR&E program:
chosen by the BR&E Committee, approved by the
Chamber Board.
                                                          2008 BR&E Committee (active):
The amount of technical resource assistance.
                                                          David Gaskin, Chair, Big O Tires
In 1999, we were privileged to receive a great amount
                                                          Steve Roe, Vice Chair, Roe Motors
of technical assistance, including the writing of the
                                                          Charlie Mitchell, staff, SOREDI
survey document and the final report by Oregon State
                                                          Linda Draper, The Job Council
University staff. We also had much human support
                                                          Ainoura Oussenbec, Oregon Employment Dept.
from partnering agencies, specifically from the City
                                                          Gail Gasso, Oregon Employment Dept.
of Grants Pass. In 2002, we had neither. We ran a
                                                          Jon Jordan, Chamber of Commerce
leaner ship, and quality suffered a bit. In 2005, the
                                                          Colleen Padilla, SOREDI
City received an Oregon Lottery grant from the Re-
                                                          Larry Holzgang, OECDD
gional Investment Board, which allowed us to hire
                                                          Lois Keller, Recognition Specialties
Rebecca L. Reid to develop our survey and provide
                                                          Donna Love, RCC Small Bus. Dev. Center
data analysis and technical assistance. The 2008 sur-
                                                          John Lopez, RCC
vey followed a similar format, slightly modifying the
                                                          Steve Dahl, City of Grants Pass
2005 survey and again using Reid for data analysis
                                                          David Tally, Tally Media Group
and program staff for the writing of this report.
                                                          Stacie Walsh, Personnel Source
The survey instrument changed. We struggled               Todd Thompson, Rogue Advisors
in the years between 1999 and 2002 with some in-          Darlene Dart, PremierWest Bank
terim surveys, testing out simpler, shorter surveys.      Linda Barkey,
We elected to go with a two-part survey in 2002           Bob Schumacher, IVCDO
which created confusion and may have led to incom-        Diana Corder, Pacific Power
plete surveys and frustrated visitors and businesses.     Lew Tagliere, RCC Small Bus. Dev. Center
In 2005 we returned to what worked best in 1999,          Shari Downhill, NW Timberfallers
using funds to hire a professional to develop our sur-    Gina Marie Agosta, Coalition For Kids
vey instrument and analyze the data. We also re-
sumed survey field testing in 2005. In 2008, we tested
a modified 2005 survey with three businesses before                                                          5.
                   2008 Volunteer business visitors: (In addition to Committee)
Dean Wendle, RCC Board                                    Joe Rich, volunteer
Brad Ross, RCC                                            Ken Heindsmann, The Job Council
Peter Angstadt, RCC President                             Mike Peil, Bank of the Cascades
Chris Isabell, Rogue Advisors                             Nancy Maxwell, volunteer
Mike Enger, Home Valley Bank                              Ruth Pepple, volunteer
Terry Goodell, Holiday Inn Express                        Sid Jack, Oregon Employment Dept.
Dawn Baumer, Volunteer                                    Susan Goracke, Daily Courier
Jill Gleysteen, Home Valley Bank                          Shari Downhill, RCC SBDC
Denise Davis, Home Valley Bank                            Steve Ware, Home Mortgage Solutions
Marty Clapp, volunteer                                    Tracy Thompson, Prudential Real Estate
Claudette Wilder, Wilder Appraisals                       David Smith, Oregon Employment Dept.
Jeff Smith, UWIN                                          Renee Barron, volunteer
Mollie Means, volunteer                                   Bea Ryan, Sterling Savings Bank
Reg Powell, SOREDI                                        Karalee Black, Personnel Source
Ron Fox, SOREDI                                           DonnaJean Wendle, Grants Pass City Council
Bill Peterson, Copeland Paving

Firms Visited:
108 firms were targeted to be visited in 2008 and 78 surveys were completed. This was our highest number
and completion rate to date.
                                    Facts on the 2008 round of BR&E
                                             business surveys:

                               •      Surveys completed:                            78
                               •      Completion rate:                              73%
                               •      Businesses with “Red Flags”:                  41
                               •      Individual “Red Flag” issues:                 94
                               •      Businesses with expansion needs:              13
                               •      Number of volunteers involved:                50
                               •      Approx. number of volunteer hours:            340

This compares well to previous rounds and even to 2005 when 100 firms were targeted to be visited, and 66
surveys were completed. The community and the BR&E Committee greatly appreciate the willingness of these
businesses to help the community understand their needs. Their survey responses are confidential yet it is im-
portant to credit their participation by listing their names in Table 1. on the following page. Forty-seven of the
businesses surveyed this year have been surveyed by us in the past and four have participated in each and
every survey.

                               •      Surveyed for the first time in 2008:          31
                               •      Participated in at least one other survey:    47
                               •      Participated in one other survey:             21
                               •      Participated in two other surveys:            26
                               •      Participated in all surveys:                  4

                                Firms Visited in 2008:
                                                   Table 1.

AE Light                                                               Kauffman Wood Products†
Albertsons*                                                            Laurel Hill Nursing Center†
Ausland Construction                                                   Marzi Sinks†
Aviation Associates                                                    MasterBrand Cabinets*§
Bi-Mart                                                                Met One Instruments*
Bob Drake Reproductions*§                                              Mountain Alloy
Carson Helicopter                                                      Mycorrhizal Applications Inc.†
Cary's of Oregon*                                                      NWD†
Copeland Paving*                                                       OOGP
Core-Mark*                                                             Oregon Swiss Precision*§
Courier Publishing*                                                    Pacific Aviation
DCS, Inc.*                                                             Pacific Botanicals
Duro-Last Roofing*                                                     Pacific Ironworks Inc†
Dutch Bros.†                                                           Paklite (Victor Henry)
Dutch Mining Co.                                                       Pharmacy Computer Services*
Eagle Veneer                                                           Precision Screw Mfg. (Ray Urias)
Encore Ceramics*                                                       Radio Design Group†
ESAM*                                                                  Recognition Specialties*
Exceptional Metals                                                     Riverside Inn*
Farmer's Building Supply/ Rogue Truss                                  Roe Motors
Fields Truss Co./ Grants Pass Truss LLC                                Rogue Truck Body†
Fire Mountain Gems†                                                    Roley's Pacific Supply
Flora Research                                                         Rough & Ready Lumber Co.*
Foris Winery†                                                          Royale Gardens Health & Rehab*
Fred Meyer*                                                            Sequoia/Carling of America
FW Murphy†                                                             Sharp's Tarps Inc.†
Gates Home Furnishings*                                                Shelter One
Gottschalks                                                            Siskiyou Community Health Center
GP Water Lab                                                           So. Oregon Sanitation*
Grants Pass Clinic†                                                    Summer Jo's
Grayback Forestry†                                                     Swissmetric*
Hach Ultra Analytics†                                                  Taylor’s Sausage†
Henderson's Line-up†                                                   Three Rivers Community Hospital*§
Herb Pharm*                                                            Timber Products*
Hy-Speed Machining†                                                    Umpqua Dairy*
ICX/Meso Systems                                                       USF Reddaway†
Impact Physical Therapy                                      †
Incident Solutions Inc.                                                Woodruff Construction
Isecure                                                                Yanase Jewelers
                   *Firms that were also surveyed in at least two previous rounds of BR&E surveys
                         Firms that were also surveyed in one previous round of BR&E surveys
                                     §Firms that were surveyed in all four rounds                          7.
Grants Pass & Josephine County Eco-                             tourism, retirement services, retail trade and other service
                                                                and manufacturing sectors, the wood products industry is
nomic Profile:                                                  still a major force in the county. Many of the top manufac-
Job growth and industry diversity have been the themes
                                                                turers in the county, including those producing wood prod-
for Josephine County for more than a decade. Once a tim-
                                                                ucts, have generally continued to expand and add employ-
ber and natural resources dependent community, today no
                                                                ees throughout the past decade.
singular or group of businesses and no singular industry
                                                                         In fact, the County leads the state in economic
dominates the local economy. Total employment in Jose-
                                                                diversity among rural counties. A state economist has de-
phine County hit an all-time high late 2005 just prior to a
                                                                termined Josephine County to rank highest among rural
state and national economic slowdown that continues into
                                                                Oregon counties in terms of economic diversification. The
2008 and for the foreseeable future. Josephine County,
                                                                index model, known as the Hachman Index, was produced
once adding jobs at rates higher than the state or the nation
                                                                by Frank Hachman of the Bureau of Business and Eco-
in 2004 and 2005 has seen stagnant and slight negative job
                                                                nomic Research at the University of Utah.
growth since 2006. The phenomenal growth of construc-
                                                                         The county currently employs around 640 in wood
tion, especially residential, resulted in an employment
                                                                products. Health services is the largest sector of employ-
boom; now many industry sectors, including construction,
                                                                ment (15.7%), followed by retail trade (15.1%), manufac-
are facing contraction. Many other business sectors, in-
                                                                turing (12.5%), leisure and hospitality (11.5%), and local
cluding finance, real estate and some manufacturing real-
                                                                education (7.6%).
ized their recent growth was due to ties to the construction
                                                                         200 new jobs were added in 2007 in health ser-
industry. Still, some sectors continue to do well in the
                                                                vices while the other traditional high-paying industry sec-
county, namely health care, wholesale trade and manufac-
                                                                tors of construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade
turing businesses that are enjoying profits through exports,
                                                                saw either very modest gains or small declines in jobs. The
taking advantage of a weak U.S. dollar.
                                                                total civilian labor force in the county grew to just under
         Josephine County’s unemployment rate in 2007
                                                                35,000 in 2007, slightly up over 2006. Despite recent and
ranged from a low of 6.2 percent in May to a high of 8.2
                                                                current economic woes, overall in the whole county 269
percent in January and February. Despite little or no job
                                                                net new jobs were added between 2004 and 2007 (a 0.8%
growth, the unemployment rate remained within or below
                                                                growth rate), and payroll jobs increased by 1,090 in the
historic averages, pointing to a shrinking labor market.
                                                                same period (4.4% growth).
Josephine County gained only 50 payroll jobs in 2007, a
                                                                         MasterBrand Cabinets, Three Rivers Community
sign of the times of economic stagnancy. Our year-to-year
                                                                Hospital and Fire Mountain Gems remain the largest em-
payroll job growth rate was about 4.6 percent. The number
                                                                ployers in the county with above-average compensation
of unemployed as the year closed out was 2,756, still be-
                                                                and benefits. The construction and government sectors
low over 3,000 recorded in the mid-1990’s.
                                                                continue to decline due to a decreased demand in housing
         The largest city and county seat in Josephine
                                                                and budget cuts in county government. Generally, com-
County is Grants Pass, population 34,237. The Grants Pass
                                                                mercial construction remains active, and new commercial/
urban area has a population of around 40,000. Since 1990,
                                                                retail centers have been added in recent years in response
the population of Grants Pass has increased by nearly 50
                                                                to population growth. Spalding Commerce Park continues
percent, rising from 17,448. Population for Josephine
                                                                to grow and add new businesses and Paradise Ranch Re-
County as a whole has seen similar trends, growing from
                                                                sort readies itself for opening in 2009 or 2010.
62,649 in 1990 to 82,390 in 2007. The county’s population
                                                                         Following similar national and statewide trends,
is projected to reach 85,000 by 2010. Cave Junction, the
                                                                manufacturing employment is now generally holding
county’s other incorporated city, has 1,685 residents. All
                                                                steady following a decade of decline. Employment in the
recent population growth in Josephine County has come
                                                                Josephine County wood products industry had fallen by
from in-migration. While Josephine County has an aging
                                                                about 33 percent in the previous decade and now represent
population (over 20 percent of the county’s residents are
                                                                about one-half of numbers posted as recently as 1999.
65 or older), the fastest growing age group in the county
                                                                         Through 2016, the health care sector is projected
has been the 45-54 cohort; this is also the largest age
                                                                to see the fastest job growth in the region (31 percent);
group by percent of total. The 25-34 age group has de-
                                                                followed by professional & business services (21 percent);
clined by 4.5 percent in the past decade.
                                                                and leisure & hospitality (20 percent). Health care services
                                                                and retail trade will continue to dominate the market in
Employment Trends and Industry Diversity                        terms of total job count in the region. Some of the fastest
         Josephine County’s reliance on logging and timber
                                                                growing occupations in the region through 2016 include a
products manufacturing has decreased over the past two
                                                                variety of healthcare occupations, computer services, per-
decades. Despite this, until very recently, new jobs con-
                                                                sonal care services, food preparation, building mainte-
tinue to be added. And while the county’s industrial base
                                                                nance, community/ social workers and retail sales.
has diversified to include high technology, medical care,                                                                8.
Grants Pass/ Josephine County 2008                             -defined “groups”:
Survey Results                                                 • Dynamic Group (33%): Small & medium-sized
Following are the results of the survey of 78 firms by               traded sector businesses with the potential to grow
the Grants Pass/ Josephine County BR&E Committee               • Heavy Group (22%): Large businesses (generally
and volunteer visitors January through March 2008.                   over 100 employees)
The firm characteristics are summarized first followed         • Heritage Group (8%): Sample of long-term busi-
by selected detailed data on a variety of issues and                 nesses
subjects, and finally suggested projects and strategies        • New Group (6%): Traded sector businesses new to
selected by the data analyst, author & Committee.                    the area within last five years
                                                               • Other Group (31%): Sample of other businesses
Characteristics of Firms Visited                                     suggested by the Committee
The firms visited represent a sample of around 2.5
percent of the businesses in Josephine
County (~3,000 firms). Of the 108         Fig. 1.            Business Types Surveyed - GP/JoCo 2008
                                                                  Natural Resources: Construction:
firms targeted, 78 completed the vis-                                     3%              2%
its, the highest number and comple-                              5%
tion percentage yet for this program.               Wholesale Trade:
The types of firms in the visited sam-                     5%

ple fell into several categories (see
Fig. 1). In order of decreasing size the                                                                  Manufacturing
                                             Other services:                                                  30%
largest broad industry categories                  8%

Manufacturing:                  30%
Health care/social assist:      24%
Retail Trade:                   23%               Retail Trade
Other services:                 8%                   23%
                                                                                                       Health Care/Social
Wholesale Trade:                5%                                                                           Assist.
Other:                          5%
Natural Resources:              3%
Construction:                   2%

These firms employed nearly 5,750
full-time people in 2008 (about 23%        Fig. 2. Surveyed firms by employment size GP/JoCo 2008
of the total County payroll employ-               100+, 17%
ment. Distribution of employment
                                                                                                    <10 , 25%
size was fairly evenly spread across
the range (see Fig. 2). The overall
mean employment size was 75.

General Information
Geographic distribution of firms sur-
                                          50-99, 14%
•   71% in the Grants Pass urban area
•   15% in Merlin/North Valley
•   9% in the Illinois Valley
•   5% in other unincorporated areas
    of Josephine County
                                                                                                     10-24, 23%
                                                25-49, 21%
Firms were also selected based on pre
                What did we learn in 2008?
  Businesses re-                   Major findings:
 main dynamic and                          •   Businesses remain dynamic and continue to invest
 continue to invest                            in technology, modernization and facilities.
   in technology,
 modernization and                         •   Many businesses will need assistance with their ex-
      facilities.                              pansions.

                                           •   Most businesses are apprehensive about the future
  Most businesses                              and are less likely to have firm predictions.
  are apprehensive
   about the future                        •   Over half of the survey respondents reported that
  and are less likely                          their company had expanded or remodeled in the
 to have firm predic-                          past five years and 45% plan an expansion or re-
        tions.                                 model in the near future.

                                           •   Several community services received low marks
 Most continue to                              this year; most ratings did not improve over 2005
find this area to be
  a good or better                         •   Over 60% of businesses had recently completed a
 place to live and                             wage analysis.
    do business.
                                           •   Generally, optimism fell below that expressed in
                                               2005 and was more similar to 2002, echoing eco-
 Most businesses account                       nomic conditions at the time of the survey.
   for superior product/
 service quality and cus-                  •   More than half of the businesses surveyed stated
 tomer service as the as-
                                               they had problems with employee recruitment.
  pects of their company
   that distinguish them
                                           •   Most find this area to be a good or better place to
 most from their competi-
            tion.                              live and do business. in their business.

About the data:
The next several pages contain brief text and graphical representations of the data obtained from the surveys. The
data is generally presented in the order that it was asked. Not all questions and responses are listed here; only those
that lend themselves best to interpretation. This document is intended to be a summary of the data for general con-
sumption. Some of the detailed data contains responses with confidential and/or proprietary or inappropriate com-
ments and responses. In these cases, the responses may have been edited and/or paraphrased for the purposes of this
summary to protect the confidentiality of the employer and/or the volunteer visitor and in some cases to produce
smoother-flowing data. The strategies that are listed are the expert opinion of the data analyst, author and the BR&E
   Rating the                           Opinions of GP/JoCo as a place to do business & live
   community                                                   2008
In each round of the four                    0%       10%  20%      30%        40%       50%        60%      70%   80%

surveys conducted so far
businesses were asked to         Excellent=5
rate the community as a
place to live and as a place
to do business. Prior to            Good=4
2008, community ratings
had improved each year
the survey has been con-              Fair=3

ducted. Through 2005
each rating improved by
about 0.2 in each category
                                                                        As a place in which to live
every three years. For                                                  As a place in which to conduct business
2008, ratings for the com- Very Poor=1
munity as a place to do
business slid by 0.4 while
ratings for the community Fig. 3.
as a place to live held
steady from 2005                                               both a hindrance and a help—such as workforce
ratings. See Fig. 3.         For the first time,               and the size of our local community and our rela-
and Table 2. Firms’         community ratings tive remoteness. In fact, workforce was rated as the
opinion of Grants                                              number one disadvantage and the second highest
Pass/ Josephine             did not improve in advantage. See Tables 3. & 4. Most businesses sur-
County as a place to                    2008.                  veyed account for superior product/service quality
do business is still                                           and customer service, not price or the product or
79 percent good/excellent. Their opinion of the com-        service itself, as the aspect of their company that dis-
munity as a place to live is 97 percent good/excellent. tinguishes them most from their competition.
It is unclear at this time why these ratings did not           Table 3.
continue to improve; however Committee members                              Key Advantages:
had mixed feelings about the 4.7 community rating in           Quality of Life                                29%
2005, unsure of whether such a high number could be            Labor/Workforce                                27%
sustainable or continue to improve.                            Location/ Climate                              22%
                                                               Community                                      18%
Table 2.       Community as a place Community as a             Programs/ taxes                                12%
                    to do business           place to live
                                                               Economics/ costs                               10%
    1999                 3.9                     4.4           Wages                                            8%
                                                               Access to Customer                               8%
    2002                 4.1                     4.5            Table 4.
    2005                 4.3                     4.7                       Key Disadvantages:
                                                                Workforce                                      24%
    2008                 3.9                     4.7            Transportation                                 15%

Advantages & Disadvantages.                                     Distance from Inputs/                    12%
Businesses were asked to list the main advantages               Small area/ Market                       12%
and disadvantages they gain or incur from being lo-             Community Issues                          9%
cated in the Grants Pass/ Josephine County commu-
                                                                Distance from Markets                     8%
nity. In many cases, the attributes of this area can be
                                                                Shipping costs                            9%      11.
                                                     the mean of all employers surveyed and the distribu-
               Employment                            tion of employees by employment status appears to
                                                     be largely unchanged when comparing the past three
In the survey, businesses were asked to report how   years with 2005 and looking ahead to 2008 (see Ta-
many employees in the categories of full-time, part- ble 6.) The most significant trend has been the
time, and temporary/
                                             Employment among 78 reporting businesses
seasonal were work- FIG. 4.
ing there three years                                       GP/JoCo 2008
ago, currently and
projected in three Anticipated
years. Fig. 4. shows
                             3 years
that among the 78
companies who re-
sponded, they antici-
pate adding 887 new          Currently
jobs in the next three
years. This represents
about a 15% increase,
or about 5.1% per          3 years ago
year. This is more
than actual previous
three-year growth.
Growth among this                      0      1000    2000     3000     4000      5000    6000  7000
group of businesses
tends to exceed that of                                           Employees
the county as a whole,
according to projec-
tions from the Oregon Employment Department.           change of more companies to hire more “temporary”
        Also, this group of businesses added jobs in workers from professional staffing agencies. This
the last three years over three times the rate of the number has jumped from 3% in 2002 to 26% cur-
entire county. However, several businesses surveyed rently.
failed to provide an answer regarding future growth,
and in these instances an assumption was made that       Table 7.                  Currently In 3 years
employment in three years would remain the same as
                                                         Mean percentage: Gen.        31%       31%
current employment. We have considered this to be a      Production
conservative estimate. Employment growth based on
                                                         Mean percentage: Skilled     46%       46%
Table 6.       3 years ago   Currently   3 years from    Production
                                                      Mean percentage: Cleri-       13%           13%
Overall mean     69          75           81          cal/ office
size of em-
ployment                                              Mean percentage: Sales        14%           15%
Mean per-        81%        83%          83%
centage: Full-                                        Mean percentage: Profes-      39%           24%
Time                                                  sional/ Mgmt.
Mean per-        30%        27%          24%
centage: Part-                                               The percentage of employees by occupation
Time                                                 classification is projected to remain essentially the
Mean per-        8%         26%          22%         same in three years as it is today (see Table 7.), thus
centage:                                             demonstrating no major shifts anticipated by
Temporary                                                                                                12.
those local employers surveyed between a distribu-           their employees than they were in previous years. In
tion of general production, skilled production, cleri-       fact, the percentage of those who say they provide
cal, sales and professional/ management. The results         benefits is higher in 2008 than it was in any previ-
                                                             ous survey year. Benefits may have risen and fallen
Table 8.             General               Skilled           with the economy in the last slowdown (as the per-
                    Production           Production          centage of those businesses which provide benefits
                   Mean Wage*            Mean Wage           dipped slightly in 2002; see Table 9.), but did not do
1999 Survey      $7.76 - $8.23/hr.        $11.20/hr.         so in 2008. This is good news for the economic
                                                             health of the community, and it may also serve to
                                                             compensate for what appears to be a dip in wages. It
2002 Survey      $8.24 - $8.25/hr.        $13.63/hr.
                                                             may also be reflective of employers’ realization that
                                                             benefits are equally, and sometimes more, important
2005 Survey           $9.19/hr.           $12.18/hr.         to their employees than wages, and that to keep
                                                             good employees from leaving, a sound benefit pack-
2008 Survey          $9.86/hr.            $13.29/hr.         age is a necessity. A variety of different types of
                                                             benefits are being offered, with health insurance,
*The wage range stated in 1999 and 2002 is due to general    paid holidays, vacation and retirement being the
production labor included in two separate job classifica-    most popular (see Figure 5.).
tions in the 1999 and 2002 surveys.
                                                                     Over 80% of the businesses surveyed pro-
show a slight decrease in the
percentage of professional/ man-         Fig. 5        Benefits provided by employers, GP/JoCo 2008
agement positions, an intriguing          100%
indicator.                                 90%
        Generally, wages have              80%
risen over the years, especially           70%
entry-level wages, but the mean
wage paid to skilled production
labor appears to have slipped
slightly between 2002 and 2008             40%
for an unknown reason (see Ta-             30%
ble 8.). This aberration may in            20%
part be due to the small sample            10%
size of the 2002 survey.                    0%

Employee Benefits
Despite the rising cost of health
care, it appears that more busi-
nesses are providing benefits to
                                                             viding benefits are providing paid vacations, paid
Table 9.             % of firms sur-    % of firms sur-      holidays and/or health insurance. The percentage of
                     veyed who pro-     veyed who don’t      surveyed firms that are paying health insurance to
                      vide benefits     provide benefits
                                                             their employees has risen from 80% in 2005 to 90%
1999 survey               88%                 12%            in 2008. The provision of dental insurance rose from
                                                             11% in 2005 to 55% in 2008. Vision insurance did-
2002 survey               85%                 15%            n’t even make the list three years ago, but is now
                                                             being provided by over half of those employers sur-
                                                             veyed. Meanwhile, sick leave seems much less
2005 survey               91%                    9%
                                                             popular and retirement has remained about the
2008 survey               96%                    4%
 Employee turnover                                      Is Employee Turnover a Problem? GP/JoCo 2008

Like in 2005, more than three-fourths of                                                     Yes, 22%
businesses say that employee turnover is
NOT a problem for them (78% no vs. 22%
yes—see Figure 6.). When asked if turn-
over was related on housing, only 15% said
that it was; when asked if substance abuse
was a contributing factor to turnover, 28%
said that it was. Only 13% said they antici-
pate turnover to be an issue in the future.
As in past years, employee turnover does
not appear to be a major issue facing local
employers. However, as the following sec-
                                                            No, 78%
tion demonstrates, finding employees re-
mains a challenge for many.                  Fig. 6

                        Recruiting for employees
         Companies were asked whether or not they           rate of as high as 50% during pre-employment D&A
had problems with the recruitment of employees. Sur- testing. Many employers tend to do pre-employment
                               FIG. the
prisingly, 2008 did not continue 5 trend of the 2005 testing followed by random testing. Eight out of 10
survey which showed about a 60/40 split of “Yes” to         business said they did have a drug & alcohol policy in
“No.” In 2008, just                                                                       place. Only about a
over half stated                    Do You Have Problems Recruiting Employees?            fifth were interested in
problems with re-                                  GP/JoCo 2008                           attending additional
cruitment of employ-                                                                      training on the develop-
ees, still a significant                                                                  ment of a D&A policy.
number and a higher                                                                               Over half of
percentage than in                                                                        those surveyed also ex-
2002, shown in Fig.                                                                       pressed concerns about
7. Past surveys have                 No
                                                                                          recruiting employees in
shown us that em-                    49%                                        Yes       the future. Stated one
ployers naturally                                                                         employer: “We’re terri-
have more difficulty                                                                      fied that when we grow
finding employees                                                                         we will not be able to
during good eco-                                                                          find quality folks.”
nomic times, as the                                                                       Over half also plan to
labor market tight-       Fig. 7                                                          implement new strate-
ens. In those re-                                                                         gies in the future to at-
spects, given the current economic climate, the fact        tract new workers. These new strategies ranged from
that over half still have issues with recruitment points adjusting compensation to changing marketing tactics
to a shrinking labor market.                                to creating new partnerships. Half also suggested new
         Firms listed problems recruiting higher skilled strategies in the future to hang onto the workers they
and professional workers, with skills in general being have now, and these ideas ranged from adjusting
the limiting factor that stood in the way of employers compensation to better recruitment practices to main-
finding the people they need when they need them. taining a great work environment. Nearly three-
One third listed housing as a contributing factor. fourths of the firms surveyed said they have and/or
Nearly half said that substance abuse created recruit- will consider the employment of “mature work-
ment problems. Some employers relayed an attrition ers.”                                                       14.
                                                     they need training and assistance, both for business
Employee Training                                    productivity and their own professional development,
                                                     but also for their employees, current and future. The
          Most local employers provide some sort of  mix of training needs was shuffled a bit this year,
training for their employees. In 2005, only 1.5% of  compared to previous years. A trend that continues to
the      businesses
surveyed did not      Fig. 8           Methods of training        - GP/JoCo 2008
p ro v i d e   an y
training at all; in
2008 that num-          Apprenticeships       14%
ber rose slightly
to 4%. In-house         Private Vendors           23%
training remains
the most popular
(94% in 2008),           Public Vendors             24%
as it has in previ-
ous surveys. Self On the Job Training                  31%
-teaching      and
sending employ-
ees to workshops      Distance Learning                 32%
are other popular
methods, again
                             Workshops                                55%
very similar to
previous       sur-
veys. See Fig. 8.            Self Taught                                    62%
          Like in
previous       sur-
veys, businesses               In House                                                          94%
continue to say

Fig. 9                Areas in which employees need training,                     develop is the increased
                                                                                  demand for “advanced”
                                   GP/JoCo 2008                                   computer skills, as well as
                                                                                  “basic technical skills.”
                                                                                  Management skills needs
 Apprenticeship programs
                                                                                  always remain at or near
                Sales training                                                    the top of the list, along
                                                                                  with “basic workforce
  Utilizing new technology                                                        skills.” See Fig. 9. Just
            Customer service                                                      under half of the firms
                                                                                  surveyed stated they had a
 Advanced computer skills                                                         need for business leader-
                                                                                  ship or management train-
     Basic Computer Skills
                                                                                  ing, consulting or assis-
     Basic workforce skills                                                       tance. Those that did,
                                                                                  stated needs for manage-
          Management skills                                                       ment and leadership train-
         Basic technical skills

                                  0%   10%   20%   30%      40%       50%
                                                           vestment and change. The local economy is all about
        Looking to the future                              change, and businesses are continually adapting to a
                                                           very dynamic global economy.
Sales volume changes                                       • As in years past, a majority (67%) of businesses
        Businesses were asked to state whether or not          surveyed said they added or subtracted product
their sales had increased or decreased in the past three       lines in the past, and even more expect to do so in
years and what they projected their sales would do in          the future as well.
the next three years. The majority of firms reported       • About two-thirds say they have entered new mar-
strong past and future increase in sales. An extraordi-        kets in the past and will continue to do so in the
narily high percentage (97%) expect increased sales            future.
in the future, the highest number yet recorded in this     • Only a third of the businesses surveyed made or
category in our four surveys when this question was            plan to make market adjustments due to foreign
                                                               competition, but two thirds have made or will
Sales            Increase      Decrease      Stay the          make adjustments due to domestic competition.
                                              same         • High percentages have made or will make ex-
                                                               panded uses of technology, adopting new tech-
Last 3 years       75%           22%            3%
                                                               nologies or investments in labor-saving technolo-
                                                               gies or “green” technology.
Next 3 years       97%            3%            0%         • The most-cited challenges expected to encounter
                                                               when making changes were: financing, training
Table 10.                                                      (learning new technology) and regulatory issues.

asked. See Table 10. Ten firms surveyed expect sales    Business expansions/ changes
increases of 50% or more, with three firms anticipat-           As in past surveys, we remain surprised at the
ing triple-digit growth. Many firms attributed sales    number of businesses surveyed who say they do not
increases to expected changes in economic conditions own or lease sufficient property at their current site
as well as increases in population and/or market size.  for expansion. The percentage has finally begun to
About one in five firms reported de-                                       shrink a bit in 2008 (in all previous
clines in sales in the past, with a      In 2008, nearly one surveys, around 40% of the busi-
wide range of reasons offered, but
citing economic conditions was the         third of the busi- nesses surveyed did not have suffi-
                                                                           cient property for expansion) to
most popular answer.                    nesses surveyed do around 32%. Additionally, 45% have
        Two-thirds of firms are
aware of emerging technologies and/ NOT have sufficient present building. 69% of those who
                                                                           plans to modernize or expand their
or market forces what will affect        property for expan- plan facility changes will add square
them, most related to new methods                    sion.                 footage, which includes space for
or technologies. Some expect these                                         plant production, warehousing and
changes to affect their business positively, while oth- office space with most work planned for 2008 or
ers expect more of a negative impact.                   2009.
        Businesses were also asked to evaluate their            Over half of those surveyed have undertaken a
industry and the trends facing the industry. Just over  physical expansion in the past five years with three-
half of firms surveyed perceive that production or      fourths of the work occurring between 2005 and
sales levels industry-wide are increasing, with about a 2008. Just under half have remodeled in the past five
third seeing industry-wide sales or production levels   years, with most being internal remodeling, again oc-
decreasing. Only less than one-third see their industry curring in the past three years. About a fifth have re-
moving operations outside of the U.S., and just over    located in the past five years, and again most occur-
one-third are seeing market share of non-U.S. com-      ring in the past three years.
petitors increasing.                                            Half of those that have undergone expansion,
        Josephine County businesses continue to im-     remodel or relocation projects in the recent past stated
press with their dynamic approach to innovation, in-    they encountered challenges with “planning require-
•   One-third of the businesses surveyed plan to                   affecting a move or closure. (See Fig. 11.) For
    add square footage                                             those few that were considering relocations, most
                                                                   (71%) were considering relocating with the
•   45% plan to begin a facility change project                    Grants Pass area, while the remaining few were
    within the next 3 years                                        considering another location within the Southern
                                                                   Oregon region.
•   56% have physically expanded in the past 5                             It appears opportunities exist to interact
    years                                                          with many businesses who are planning a reloca-
                                                                   tion or expansion in the future. Since many busi-
•   46% have remodeled in the past 5 years                         nesses do not have the building/ land needed for
                                                                   expansion, there is a need to facilitate real estate
•   23% have relocated in the past 5 years                         development or redevelopment to accommodate
                                                                   these needs. As no businesses are planning to
•   32% DO NOT HAVE sufficient land or building                    move out of the region, there is less of a retention
    to expand!                                                     need and more of an expansion assistance need.
                                                                           Over half have expressed concerns with
•   18% plan to relocate in the next 3 years                       planning and permitting as these activities pertain
                                                                   to expansion/remodel projects, thus suggesting a
ments. Another 44% listed a related                          Key factors affecting move/close, GP/JoCo 2008
issue, “permits,” as a challenge. Oth- Fig. 11
ers related issues with financing,                              Crime/vandalism                    11%
land prices/ availability and zone                       Government regulations                    11%
variances as issues. Over one-third
said they did not encounter any chal-                      No land for expansion                   11%
lenges at all during their project. (see                                     Taxes                 11%
Fig. 10.)
        When asked whether or not a                  Transportation infrastructure                 11%
business was considering relocating                              Lease expiration                      17%
or closing within the next three
years, none said they were planning Better opportunities elsewhere                                         22%
a closure. But 18% were considering                   Changing market conditions                           22%
a relocation. Six percent answered
“maybe” or “perhaps” when asked                            Overcrowded building                                    28%
the question
of relocation             Challenges encountered during recent facility changes, GP/JoCo                    need to inter-
or closure.                                                      2008                 Labor                 face with gov-
                            Availability of Existing                           Skills/Availability
Those that                          Building                                           3%
                                                                                                            ernment agen-
were consid-                          4%                                                                    cies in an at-
ering reloca-              Zone Variances                                                                   tempt to ad-
tion or clo-                                                                  Planning
                                                                                                            dress these is-
sure listed            Land Prices or                                           27%                         sues and possi-
overcrowded             Availability
                                                                                                            bly seek to
building,                                                                                                   streamline
changing                                    Financing                                                       some processes
market con-                                     9%                                                          or implement
ditions and                                                                                                 better under-
better oppor-                  None                                            Permits                      standing or
tunities else-                 18%                                               24%
                                                                                                            education on
where as the                                                                                                these proc-
main reasons                                                                                                esses.
                   Fig. 10                                                                                              17.
                  Rating community services
        Businesses were asked to rank (using the 1-5          breakdown. Most categories saw no improvement
rating scale, with 1 being very poor and 5 being ex-          from 2005, reflecting a much different general out-
cellent) 18* different community services, ranging            look on the world by the business community. It will
from day care to street maintenance. Most areas re-           require further investigation and time to determine
ceived a “fair” or better average rating, with the low-       whether the issues are perception, reality or attitude.
est average rating a 2.8 (child care) and the highest a       Four categories (child care, zoning & land use, law
4.7 (community as a place to live; see Table 2. on            enforcement and workforce housing) hovered around
page 11).                                                     the “fair” average rating. Ratings for only one cate-
        However, responses ran the full range in most         gory (Post-secondary education) improved between
categories from “very poor” or “1” to “excellent” or          2005 and 2008. For the first time, not a single cate-
“5” with considerably more “excellent” ratings than           gory in this table scored above a 4.0 rating.
“very poor” ratings. See Table 12 for the detailed
Table 12.
                                            Ave. rating Ave. rating Ave. rating Ave. rating
            Category                    Change
                                              2008        2005        2002        1999
Building codes and inspection            ↓↔    3.3         3.5         3.3         3.2
Zoning and land use                       ↓    3.0         3.5         3.5         2.9
Child care                                ↓    2.8         3.6         3.6         3.1
Telecommunications                       ↔     3.6         3.6         n/a         n/a
Availability of parking                  ↑↓    3.6         3.7         3.3         3.2
Law enforcement                           ↓    3.1         3.8         3.8         3.1
Post-secondary education                  ↑    3.9         3.8         4.1         3.6
Vocational schools                        ↓    3.3         3.8         3.6         3.4
Health care                               ↓    3.6         3.8         3.8         3.6
Roads, highways, freeways                 ↓    3.7         3.9         3.8         3.2
Elem. & Sec. Schools                      ↓    3.8         3.9         4.0         3.4
Water treatment                          ↑↓    3.8         4.0         3.8         3.6
Sewer treatment                          ↑↓    3.8         4.0         4.0         3.6
Solid waste disposal                     ↑↓    3.9         4.0         3.9         3.4
Fire protection                           ↓    3.7         4.2         4.2         3.9
Recreation facilities                     ↓    3.9         4.3         4.3         4.1
Park System                               ↓    3.9         4.3         4.3         4.2
Ambulance services                             n/a         n/a         4.1         3.8
Hospitals                                      n/a         n/a         4.3         3.6
Workforce Housing                              3.1         n/a         n/a         n/a
*“Workforce Housing” was added as a category in 2008. “Telecommunications” was added as a category in 2005.
“Ambulance services” and “hospitals” were discontinued as categories after 2002. “Water treatment” and “sewer
treatment” were combined into one category in 2005, as were “recreation facilities” and “park system.” “Street main-
tenance” was changed to “roads, highways and freeways” in 2005. “Day care” was changed to “child care” in 2005.
“Community education” was changed to “post-secondary education” in 2005. The categories of rating the “community
as a place to live” and the “community as a place to do business” were added to this set of questions in 2005, but are
reported out separately; in this report they are included in Table 2. on page 11.                                   18.
    Suggested strategies and recommendations
Ensure “Red Flag” issues are followed-up accordingly.
  The BR&E Committee should appoint a small group to audit the Red Flag issues uncovered
  during the 2008 round of visitations and ensure all are addressed appropriately, ideally by
  the end of 2008. It is critical that these do not fall by the wayside.

Address employee recruitment issues through a variety of
  Over half of the businesses surveyed stated they are having problems recruiting employees
  and roughly the same percentage expect to encounter recruitment problems in the future.
  Many said they were having trouble finding higher skilled employees and nearly half cited
  substance abuse as a contributing factor to recruitment problems. Through collaborations
  with other agencies, the BR&E Committee should take on assisting with employee recruit-
  ment issues as a top priority and work to develop strategies to address these issues and help
  employers implement plans to improve employee recruitment and retention. A subcommit-
  tee of the full BR&E Committee (which may include members of the Chamber Education
  Committee and others) may need to be formed to take on the task of developing and assist-
  ing in the implementation of county-wide (or region-wide) employment strategies.

Assist with expansion issues.
  Nearly half of the businesses surveyed are planning a remodel or expansion in the near fu-
  ture and one third don’t currently have sufficient space for an expansion. BR&E needs to
  pro-actively lend assistance through individual firm assessment, property identification and
  planning/ permitting negotiation and resolution.

Develop a strategy to respond to key community issues that
 received low ratings.
  Child care, zoning & land use, law enforcement and workforce housing received low rat-
  ings for community services. Ratings for only one category (Post-secondary education) im-
  proved between 2005 and 2008. BR&E should attempt to appropriately respond to the re-
  spective agencies on these issues and report back to the business community through the
  Chamber of Commerce.
 Grants Pass/ Josephine County, Oregon



             "This Project is funded in part with a grant from the Oregon
                   State Lottery through the Regional Investment
              Fund, administered by the State of Oregon Economic and
                       Community Development Department."

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