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New analytical tools released to assist economic developers
Kirill Abbakumov   on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 9:17:00 am

On April 20, the Census Bureau has released the 2015 County Business Patterns, which provides detailed annual information on the number of establishments, employees, and first quarter and annual payroll at the national, state, county, metropolitan, congressional district, and five-digit ZIP code levels for nearly 1,200 industries. County Business Patterns debuted 71 years ago and has been published annually for the past 51 years. County Business Patterns data can be accessed by using multiple tools available via the Census Bureau website, including American FactFinder, QuickFacts, Census Business Builder, and My Congressional District.

In addition, USAFacts is a new data-driven portrait of the American population, government finances, and the government’s impact on society. The site relies on data from over 70 government agencies in order to present reliable, current data for use by various users, including economic developers.

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) has also recently updated numerous data tools for economic developers. In partnership with businesses and universities through its Research and National Technical Assistance program, EDA develops and promotes instrument that help communities develop strategic plans, locate and evaluate regional clusters, as well as explore existing innovation capacity.

The StatsAmerica Innovation Index 2.0 Tool is one of the instruments providing economic developers a quick and easy way to calculate whether a country, region, or neighbourhood meets EDA eligibility threshold for unemployment and income. This tool delivers an easy-to-compare method of assessing the innovation capacity of a region with data on: human capital, economic dynamics, productivity and employment, and well-being. The updated 2.0 tool expands on the original index by adding more than 50 new measures, such as an ability to account for regional knowledge spillovers, technology diffusion, and foreign direct investment.

Another tool that offers significant support to businesses, policy makers, academics, and economic developers is U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry Tool. Funded by EDA and created in partnership with the Harvard University’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, the U.S. Cluster Mapping tool is a national initiative that provides data on regional clusters and economies to support U.S. business, innovation and policy. The site also provides a cluster registry where cluster organizations can connect with key businesses, both up and down supply chains, in their respective regions to help advance cluster initiatives.

Together, these analytic tools offer comprehensive data and analysis that can inform stakeholders’ collective action and can guide complex decision-making at the regional level by identifying region’s capabilities, challenges, and potential.