The phrase, "Joplin is going to be back; bigger and better then ever." has been a theme heard throughout the city for the past three years, but is that really the case? Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian thinks so. He tells News Talk KZRG Joplin has come further than most would have ever thought possible in such a short time. 530 employers were affected, as well as 5,000 jobs.
"Today, we have 470, and growing of those employers back. More than 95%, or 4,500 of those job positions impacted are in place."
O'Brian says about 150 new company's that originally only intended to stay temporarily after the tornado have decided to stay.
A major concern that the city of Joplin had after the tornado hit was population loss. Most cities hit by a major natural disaster experience a 20-30% population loss, and with thousands displaced in Joplin, officials weren't sure if those residents would ever come back after relocating. Chamber of Commerce President Rob O'Brian gives News Talk KZRG an update.
"What we believe, is we saw about 4% (population loss) within Joplin, but a lot of people stayed in the area. People stayed with friends, and family. I do believe we're starting from a good platform, and we will see growth by the time the next census rolls around."
88% of the homes either damaged or destroyed have since been rebuilt. O'Brian attributes the small population loss to quick clean-up, the schools opening on time, and business returning.