Economic Development Matters

January 13, 2020

“When women do better, economies do better.”
-Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director

The U.S. jobs report last week was once again positive with over 145,000 jobs being created across the country. This is always good news. It is also noteworthy that according to the Labor Department 95% of the net jobs added in December went to women.

This is only the second time in U.S. history that women have held more than 50% of payroll jobs. Long-term trends in education and the fact that women are more likely than men to have more than one job contribute to this trend.

How will this trend impact your community and the future workplace? For additional reading I suggest this report from McKinsey.

“There are tremendous inefficiencies with the status quo.”
-Mark Muro, Brookings Institute, WSJ article Dec. 2019

If you are interested in innovation and the technology based economy, The Brookings Institute has an excellent report (and plan) on the regional imbalances that have lead to the incredible concentration of jobs and technology output from just a handful of powerful metro areas (5). This accounts for most of the tech-job growth and only 41 counties account for over 50% of innovation jobs.

This analysis illuminates the negative impacts for both those that have the concentration of these jobs and those that do not. It is both provocative and practical in its recommendations for change. However, I caution that economic development isn’t a finite game where one area wins and another loses.

Economic development is about developing and maximizing the resources and energy in your area to grow your economy and increase your quality of life. Just because an area has more of something does not mean that the quality of life or community outcomes are better. Ultimately, we all have to do the work to define what success looks like in our own areas and we have to work to leverage and evolve our community.

Let’s all grow, learn, close the gaps and take action this week. If you have thoughts on these and other subjects we would love to hear from you!

-Kenny McDonald