MONEY

Where the jobs are

It’s still a tough job market, but opportunities have been on the rise in these counties, making them great places to live and work.

  • Columbia County, GA

    A flood of new jobs is flowing into this county set on the Savannah River. Thanks to the strength of companies like John Deere and the Georgia Iron Works Foundry, opportunities are pouring in. Another boost comes from nearby Fort Gordon, a major employer in the area.

    Love the outdoors? Bass Pro Shops is slated to open a new 50,000-sq.-ft. store in the area that’s expected to create 200 cashier, associate and stockroom jobs.

    Meanwhile, many smaller retailers and restaurants are bubbling up to meet new community demand. Catering to varied and new tastes, they include two steakhouses, a tapas bar, a Punjabi grill, a wine shop and a cigar lounge.

  • Broomfield County, CO

    Broomfield County is cooking up business. Its new Kitchen Coop serves as an incubator and manufacturing site for 11 up-and-coming organic and natural food businesses, including baking company Bella Gluten-Free and nut butter company Kolat. Meanwhile, Famous Brands International, the maker of Mrs. Fields cookies and TCBY frozen yogurt, relocated its headquarters, franchisee-training center and flagship shop to the county, bringing 40 jobs.

    Active Network, an event registration software company, is consolidating several of its operations in Broomfield and plans to hire 200 more employees over the next five years, according to Bo Martinez, director of economic development for the county.

    The county’s location near the University of Colorado and 16 federal science, research and engineering centers makes it attractive to Fortune 500 companies. Indeed, Ball and Level 3 Communications are headquartered here.

  • Dallas County, IA

    Dallas County economic developers say they’re at the center of it all. That’s easy to say when two Interstates cut through the area, giving businesses quick access to points east, west, north and south.

    Known for its dependable, productive workforce, this Midwestern county has attracted thousands of jobs from financial services firms including Wells Fargo Home Mortgages, Aviva USA and Farm Bureau Insurance.

    Agribusinesses and IT companies are growing their research and development operations and looking at additional plants too. Microsoft invested $678 million and created 29 jobs there with the expansion of its Dallas County data center.

  • Laramie County, WY

    Laramie County boasts a Rocky Mountain lifestyle and business perks like low regulation and taxes. It’s also less remote than you’d think: Just 90 miles north of Denver, Laramie sits at the intersection of two Interstates and two major railway lines.

    A $112 million Microsoft data center complex is under construction in the burgeoning high-tech hub. Green House Data, a homegrown data center business, is breaking ground on an expansion that will triple its local operations.

    Mining and manufacturing sectors are also strong. California-based Searing Industries is building a new 200,000-sq.-ft. facility to make welded steel tubing.

  • Sumner County, TN

    Sumner County may be called “Nashville’s North Shore,” but manufacturing and distribution operations, not songs, are its main job attraction. The area is near three major Interstate highways which keep goods trucking to the East and Midwest.

    Business services and call center firms also are singing the region’s praises. Windham Professionals, a debt-collection agency, recently announced it’s adding 95 new positions at its corporate headquarters.

    ServPro, a fire and water damage restoration company, announced plans for a $6.7 million and 90-job expansion of its headquarters, which houses corporate, call center, warehouse, manufacturing and training employees.

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