Playing to the Base

October 17, 2016

“A nation is not made wealthy by the childish accumulation of shiny metals, but it is enriched by the economic prosperity of its people.”
-Adam Smith

How does new money enter your community? Do tourists descend and spend in your hotels, restaurants and attractions? Are your manufacturers expanding into markets around the world and bringing profits back to the local community? Are entrepreneurs and venture capitalists helping form new enterprises that will attract capital and create jobs that didn’t exist before? Are your healthcare organizations and universities commercializing intellectual property to create jobs and license fees?

All of the above are examples of building your economic base. As the base diversifies and expands, it multiplies jobs and investment within the economy. When a local manufacturer expands in your region, each job generated within the plant itself will create up to 3-5 new jobs outside of the plant. The same is true when a new company is attracted to your area to set up a new plant or corporate facility.

Locally-oriented small and mid-sized businesses, local and state governments, the arts and non-profit organizations all benefit from a durable and dynamic economic base. Whether your base is growing or eroding determines the economic health of your area over the long-term. Mark Lautman, co-founder of the Community Economics Lab, is cited in a great post on this subject, Measuring economic base jobs vs. flying blind about economy.

It is becoming easier to compare and contrast your area to others with new datasets and tools that didn’t exist before. It is even possible through JPMorgan Chase’s Local Consumer Commerce Index to determine where new dollars are coming from and in what sectors.

As your community makes plans for the next year or the next several years, take time to closely examine your economic base and how your efforts can strengthen or diversify it.

-Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • This week, the One Columbus team is joined by partners from the City of Dublin and Madison County in Japan to meet with companies. Our team is also in New York City to meet with companies and consultants.
  • Next week, our team will join several Columbus Region companies, JobsOhio and JobsOhio Network Partners at Money 20/20, the world’s largest payments and financial services innovation event.
  • Breakout sessions have been announced for Economic Development 411.