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BBA Digest: We Thank You

We Thank You Now is the time to give thanks to all the men and women deemed essential to carry on in the face of the crisis before us. They work in grocery stores and pharmacies and warehouses. They are the delivery drivers for Amazon, Instacart and Grubhub. They work for the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and Fedex. They are the long-haul truckers, as well as those who keep the truckstops operating. They are our police, corrections officers, firefighters and EMTs. Most of all, they our front-line health care workers who are battling these insidious enemy. From Maine to California, they go to work probably with conflicting feelings of duty and dread. Most are probably glad to still be working, an

BBA Economic Digest: Coming Chaos

The Coming Chaos The number of known coronavirus cases in the United States continues to grow quickly. As of Saturday afternoon, there have been at least 21,365 cases of coronavirus confirmed by lab tests and 266 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The estimates are inherently uncertain, and they could change as America adopts unprecedented measures to control the outbreak. The Trump administration has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the state, meaning more federal aid is coming to New York as cases of coronavirus show no sign of abating. Residents of California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Connecticut, nearly 85 million Americans — are under orders to stay home. T

BBA Economic Digest: In the Dark

This is a special edition of BBA Economic Digest, because I believe it is warranted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak already has affected our daily lives and the U.S. economy and will for some time to come. How long, we are not certain. Scientists believe we are looking at a virus with a mortality rate of about 1 percent. That sounds low -- meaning that the average person infected will likely do OK with it -- but it could result in an onslaught of sick people requiring acute care at the same time, so much so that hospitals will not being able to cope with the surge. That's what worries health care professionals the most. Right now the epidemiologists in this country say

BBA Economic Digest: Fighting Chance

To Have a Fighting Chance As an economic development consultant, I work in places that frankly need me. It's typically not in booming metros like Dallas, where I live. Rather, it's places that are struggling just to remain relevant in this digital age. The digitization of American life is now the norm. Every industry relies on computing, and employers are demanding more advanced digital skills from workers. Broadband (anything faster than dial up) equips people with digital skills. It makes it easier for them to search and apply for jobs. It helps businesses access a larger pool of job candidates. A digitally fluent workforce brings productivity gains to firms. In short, higher levels of bro

BBA Economic Digest: Population Loss

When Population Loss Occurs It's no great surprise to most economic developers that businesses growth has largely been concentrated in big metro areas since the Great Recession, while many rural areas have experienced a substantial loss of businesses in the past decade. A study by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) found that in the four-year periods after the 1991 recession and 2001 recession, the number of total new business establishments nationwide averaged more than 400,000 But during the four-year period after the Great Recession, only about 166,000 total new establishments came into being, with most concentrated in 20 counties in larger metro areas. Southern rural, predominately blac

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