By Cecil G. Brumley
Amid the gloom of the Volusia County jobs report, there is one sliver of hope for a turnaround.
Manufacturing, a jobs sector that hasn't done too well across the nation, is up in Volusia. While state estimates show the sector is up just 100 jobs from last year, it nonetheless is up. Manufacturing jobs, even in low-wage Volusia, still provide the best spinoff to other jobs. Generally, one manufacturing job creates two to three other jobs.
In an otherwise dismal 2012, new manufacturers are popping up in Daytona Beach and DeLand, and others throughout the county have been hiring. In fact, the state estimate is probably a tad low.
The good news for manufacturing continued recently, too, with the announcement that Sparton Corp. got another contact for sonobuoys from the U.S. Navy. Half of the $9.7 million of underwater detection devices will be done at the company's DeLeon Springs plant. In late September, Raydon Corp. in Port Orange announced it was awarded a $46.5 million contract by the U.S. Army National Guard to provide upgrades to the guard's existing Virtual Combat Operations Trainers.
While there is uncertainty with more cuts expected in defense spending, Sparton and Raydon provide tools for the military that will continue to be needed. Other defense contractors in the county have been diversifying, so hopefully they won't have to cut back. Speaking of diverse, Volusia's manufacturing sector is that, so the good news should continue.
Despite the lack of commercial flights, passenger traffic at Daytona Beach International Airport remains on the rise. In October, traffic was up 5 percent with 46,074 passengers going through the county-operated airport, compared to 44,404 in October 2011.
November usually isn't a time when you see much new commercial construction, but Chase Bank has begun a new office building in Ormond-by-the-Sea in front of Ormond Mall. If construction starts on BJ's Wholesale and LA Fitness at Altamira Village in Port Orange, it will be an unusual winter of heavy commercial action.
Amscot is becoming more ubiquitous in Volusia, with plans to open an office in Orange City at 2618 Enterprise Road.
In one of the few large commercial real estate transactions recently, Gold Diesel International bought the convenience store and vacant land next to Walgreens on Taylor Road in Port Orange for $1.225 million.
Associate Managing Editor Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business in Volusia County for more than 15 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.