KERSHNER: Dayton Strong-er than Ever

2021 was not just not just about survival, it was about adapting, investing and growing.   The Dayton region’s business community persevered and continued forward, setting us up for strong economic opportunities in 2022.   Dayton businesses hustle, adapt and lead change.   It is what our businesses have done since the 19th century and these core principles and characteristics remain true today.

Reflecting on 2021, I am optimistic that the Dayton area economy did not remain stagnant, but found ways to advance.  Businesses reopened safely, employees returned to work, holiday gatherings occurred and we safely celebrated with one another.   And Dayton has a lot to celebrate.   In 2021, we saw minority business enterprises lifted up, equity and inclusion was not a trend – but real action and investment was spawned.  In 2021 the Hub at the Dayton Arcade opened for businesses, the region’s construction industry boomed, housing demands soared and people continue to flock to downtown Dayton, giving downtown a staggering 97% occupancy rate for residential.

The Dayton area unemployment rate in December 2020 was 7.55%, fast forward to today – Dayton is realizing a 4.0% unemployment rate and every single business leader reading this article can attest to how hard it is to attract and retain talent right now.   Labor shortages throughout the pandemic have plagued the business community, but we have not let this stop us.   Restaurant owners are running the grills in the kitchen, employees are working extras hours and stepping up to fill in where there are staff voids and leaders across the region are rolling up their sleeves to not only work “on” their businesses, but work “in” their businesses.

This is where Dayton area businesses have an advantage.  Since the beginning of the modern era, Dayton business leaders have crafted their own future, instead of having it decided for them.   This is our town, this is our community and this is where every single one of us has an investment to grow.  We will fight and we will move forward so that our families, our employees’ families and future generations have a community with opportunity.   If you think that our business community is going to let a pandemic stop us from moving forward, then you do not know Dayton.   Dayton is strong-er than ever.


Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

Download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News.