There’s encouraging economic news in Lancaster. The city’s unemployment rate has declined to 6.4 percent—down from 8.8 percent last year—and significantly lower than the near 10-percent rate in 2013. These numbers reportedly represent the effects of the latest pro-business policies enacted by the city over the past few years.

The policies include a 2010 Economic Stimulus Package (focusing on encouraging local shopping), the BLVD Redevelopment Project, the courting of entrepreneurs at home and abroad, and a pro-business approach to on-going government which has said to have propelled Lancaster into one of the county’s leading job creators.

“We are very proud of the progress made over the past few years in reducing the unemployment rate,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The recession really acted as a crucible that forced city government everywhere to ask what works as a business policy and what doesn’t.”

Parris said that after the first year he took office, the city had to confront the housing and financial crisis that had a significant effect on the County of Los Angeles. Since then, he said, Lancaster has become “the most business-friendly city” in the county by embracing alternative energy as an ‘economic engine’ while launching a series of innovative city policies and initiatives.”

Parris cites a number of companies which have moved into Lancaster as evidence that the new economic policies have had a positive effect. These include Santa Clarita-based Morton Manufacturing which expanded into Lancaster, bringing with it 350 jobs; TownPlace Suites by Marriot (a new hotel at Avenue J-87 and 20th Street West); the Kaiser Permanente medical campus and, internationally, BYD (Build Your Dreams), which has created almost 200 jobs and expects to offer up to 700 positions by 2018.

“Speaking from the perspective of a business owner, it is imperative that the city continues to work to provide a business-friendly climate for the sake of entrepreneurs, employees and consumers,” said City Councilman Ken Mann. “A key goal of the city has been and will continue to be to provide the best possible service to the business community.”