Economic development efforts in communities in the United States typically focus on bringing “economic base” jobs to the community – jobs that produce goods or services that are sold outside the community, so that they will help to bring new money into the community. This chapter discusses the role of planning and planners in economic development.
Weblinks from Chapter
- U.S. Department of Commerce, ed., Regional Multipliers: A User Handbook for the Regional Input — Output Modeling System (RIMS II); ordering information for data inputs for the model is available at a separate website; this link moved once in six months; if this is a bad link, use a search engine to find “rims II regional input multipliers”.
- The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides extensive information on the labor force for the nation, state and individual census units. Data on labor capabilities is an important input into targeted industry studies and other economic development plans. Among other resources and tools, it provides an on-line “Location Quotient Calculator” to compare the attraction of various areas for specific industry types.
- What are some of the economic-base industries in your community? Check with the chamber of commerce or economic development agency for a list of the largest employers. Are they all economic-base employers? The local school system may be on that list. Is it part of the economic base?
- Find out what three employers in your community have most recently added one hundred or more employees or have built new plants with one hundred or more employees. What types of industries are they? Are these economic-base industries?
- Get out your copy of the community’s comprehensive plan. What locations are planned for future industry? Drive (or bicycle) by some of these locations. Do they appear to have good rail access? Highway access? Do they look like good locations for heavy-manufacturing, light-assembly, or service industries? Is there a good variety of land available? Is the land that is available suitable for the types of industry that you identified in response to exercise number 2?
- Find out if your community has an economic development plan. Get a copy of it. Does it seem like a workable plan? An exciting plan? Is it generally consistent with the comprehensive plan? Does it address any issues of sustainability?
- What is the general nature of the economic base in your community now? Is it in heavy industry, agriculture, service industry, or something else?
- What kinds of industries should your community target for economic development? Why? What is there about your community that should make it attractive to those industries?
- For examples of local economic development plans, see Racine County, Wisconsin, Kaua’i County, Hawai’i, Bozeman, Montana, Dover, New Hampshire, and Burnsville, Minnesota.
- For examples of target industry studies, see Georgetown County, South Carolina, Pinellas County, Florida, and a Missouri Economic Research and Service Center, which provides targeted industry studies for multiple regions in the state.
- The Economic Development Administration, a unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides separate on-line directories of state economic development agencies and to national economic development organizations.
- The International Economic Development Council limits access to some resources to its members, but items in its bookstore are available for purchase by anyone.
- The Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Wisconsin has published a useful and user-friendly guide to preparing the economic development element of a comprehensive plan.
- The National Governors’ Association offers an excellent and easy-to-use guide entitled Cluster-Based Strategies for Growing State Economics for free download. The concepts discussed in the guide are just as relevant to local communities as to state policy-makers.
- Lynda Neese of Eastern Michigan University provides a brief and accessible guide to creating economic development plans; it includes links to other useful sites.
Common Search Terms
Use these terms in search engines to find additional examples and other resources:
economic development plan, target[ed] industry study