Two high-profile Allen County organizations say new reports showcase significant annual economic growth. Greater Fort Wayne Inc. says companies invested $242 million in Allen County in 2017, resulting in 1,838 new jobs, the highest total in 12 years. Chief Executive Officer Eric Doden calls 2017 GFW Inc.’s "best year ever." Visit Fort Wayne says county visitor spending in 2016 grew 7.5 percent over 2015 to $619 million.
Tourism figures for 2017 are not yet final, but Visit Fort Wayne Chief Executive Officer Dan O’Connell expects another big year. "We have six new hotels under development, two new hotels announced growth in downtown Fort Wayne in this past year, in ’17, and those products and properties will even add to greater value of making Fort Wayne a destination, so numbers should be even stronger in ’17. We’re just very optimistic about 2018, as well," O’Connell said in an interview with Inside INdiana Business.
O’Connell says he believes an improved economy in 2015 and 2016 helped boost spending and GFW Inc. says the area’s per-capita income during that period of time agrees with the assertion. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports per-capita income in Allen County increased 2.4 percent from 2015 to 2016. The national growth rate was 1.6 percent.
The largest expansion plans announced in the county during 2017 include:
- Fort Wayne Metals – 337 new jobs – $51.1 million investment
- Android Industries – 313 new jobs – $14.7 million investment
- Multimatic – 180 new jobs – $39.1 million investment
- Buchanan Hauling – 180 new jobs – $3.2 million investment
- Faurecia – 144 new jobs – $18.5 million investment
Doden added "we will need bold leadership, energy, passion, and drive from across the community to continue our momentum into 2018. We will keep raising the bar and work harder than ever to make 2018 the best year Allen County has ever seen."
View 2016 tourism impact numbers released by Visit Fort Wayne:
During a special edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick focusing on Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana, we profiled Fort Wayne Metals, which announced the largest expansion plans in Allen County in 2017.