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Lathrop marks economic turn-around
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LATHROP – The city’s economic picture painted by Lathrop Economic Development Administrator Steve Carrigan in his latest report to the City Council was not completely rosy.

But it was a pretty picture nonetheless given the Great Recession’s stubborn grip on the sluggish economy.

In the economic paint-by-numbers picture that Carrigan presented to the three members present at the council meeting earlier this week (Chris Mateo was absent, and the fifth seat is vacant), he noted the following highlights during the first quarter of 2010:
• Lathrop’s first quarter sales were 6.9 percent higher than that of last year’s same period.
• That 6.9 percent sales increase was the highest in San Joaquin County.
• Since January 1, a total of 21 new businesses opened in Lathrop which cumulatively accounted for 350 new jobs, and which brought the total number of businesses currently operating in the city to 234.

Several new businesses are on the pipeline which could introduce several hundred more new jobs to Lathrop. These new businesses are still in a process where they are not yet ready to make any official announcement which is why he is not at liberty at this time to divulge any additional information, Carrigan explained. “We’re in waiting mode,” he said, as far as the prospective companies’ decision to open or not to open in Lathrop. “Confidentiality is a big part of this process,” he added. However, these potential businesses include two auto dealers, four restaurants, a food manufacturer that could potentially open in a 100,000-square-foot to 200,000-square-foot facility and generating up to 150 new jobs, a distribution project that could open in a 100,000-square-foot structure, plus the expansion of four existing companies.

In other positive news, some businesses in the city are on the “upswing,” Carrigan said. These include service stations, general merchandise, specialty stores as well as Lathrop’s used-car dealership, USA Motors.

These positive news, however, are tempered by other businesses that are experiencing a downturn. These include sales of boats and motorcycles, auto repair shops, heavy industrial, and rentals.

Still, Carrigan said, “I’m optimistic. We haven’t caught the big fish yet, but we’re not hungry either.”

But with the economic silver linings shining bright on the horizon, a hopeful Carrigan said the city is slowly “pulling out of this nasty cycle of the economy.”