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Bannock County, the Gem State on the upswing

In an auditorium filled with local business leaders and city officials, Robert Sendlove said the Gem State– especially Bannock County– is looking good economically.

While the economy’s looking good today, Kim Weber remembers when it all came crashing down in Pocatello.

“I was here way back when Bucyrus-Erie was kind of a mainstay of the local economy,” said Weber. “I saw the economy completely tank right after Bucyrus-Erie left.”

The news was shared at the Bannock Development Corporation’s 24th annual Economic Symposium. The purpose of the event is to give an economic forecast for the county, state and country.

In the forecast, it was said the state is the eighth fastest-growing state, as well as the eighth-highest state with employment.

The symposium also celebrates Bannock County’s economic progress and achievements in the past year, like attracting Amy’s Kitchen and the Great Western Malting Plant.

“We see that as good growth,” said John Regetz, executive director of the Bannock Development Corporation. “The efforts that we’ve made in the past and currently are making are helping contribute to that.”

Robert Sendlove, a senior economist with Zion’s Bank, provided the economical insight this year. He said businesses in export industries help strengthen an economy more than service industry jobs.

“It’s not to say that the service jobs are less valuable, but the real basic employment, the export-oriented employment, can really drive an economy,” Sendlove said.

Sendlove’s forecast left a very optimistic impression over the crowd.

“(I see) some more temporary setbacks over the long haul, but they’re not going to be anything that’s going to stop us,” Weber said.

Other economic highlights for Bannock County include bringing an Allstate Insurance Center and SME Steel back to the area. The two alone have created around 700 jobs.

In a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pocatello has been put in the top 10 percent of cities rebounding from the recession.

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