Looking Ahead: Economic Outlook for 2022

Jan 28, 2022

Heading into 2022, signs for economic growth in our region appear positive, according to Ron Corbett, vice president of economic development at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. Despite the global pandemic in 2020 and 2021, our region experienced two strong years of growth.

The headline project for the city of Cedar Rapids in 2020 was the announcement of a new $139 million facility for BAE Systems; and in 2021, the city scored again when FedEx said it would build a new $109 million warehouse and distribution center.

But Corbett says those two large projects tell only part of the story. “Everyone always thinks about the home runs, but it’s the singles, doubles and triples that add up,” said Corbett. “The large capital projects get the headlines, but we had 17 projects worth $465 million announced this past year. That’s significant.”

Corbett notes that the Economic Alliance economic development team’s focus has evolved from recruiting business to helping existing businesses grow and it is evolving yet again to supporting developments like housing.

“Our traditional portfolio of just helping business in recruiting or expanding has grown to helping with housing. We have to ask not only where jobs and people are coming from, but where will those people live so they can work at our businesses,” said Corbett. “Recruiting, expansion of existing business and housing all tie together to fuel economic growth.”

This past year, the Cedar Rapids Metro saw a big spike in multi-family housing projects; some of it spurred by the state’s reenactment of workforce housing tax credits. Those housing projects add up to $164 million in capital investment for the metro. Yet another positive sign of things to come.

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