“Unemployment will be in the teens or low twenties” was a comment I heard often when I was in Galesburg last year, touring the town and giving a talk to their economic development group. Nearly 2,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs were being lost with closings at Maytag and Butler Manufacturing.
Eric Voyles, president of the Galesburg Regional ED Association said, “It definitely could be so much worse than what it is. We’re still holding our breath, but at last we’re not 20 feet under holding our breath.”
Galesburg’s unemployment, just below 7 percent, is still higher than it should be, but recent expansions at area manufacturing plants, growth at the BNSF local rail yard and retail expansions have helped to keep the rate much lower than many had originally feared.
Galesburg recently opened a 350 acre city-owned logistics park on Interstate 74 with access to the BNSF Rail Road. The park was financed through a city sales tax and is an indication of the drive and determination of the community.
Galesburg is a wonderful agurb® that is showing its resiliency. It is poised for better things.