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BBA Economic Digest: Re-imagining Economic Development

Photo by Jeremy Beck on Unsplash Re-imagining Economic Development As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic developers have the opportunity to design a new future of their profession, building on lessons learned and practices their organizations executed during the crisis. As the late great Yogi Berra said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." To suggest that economic developers will all go forward with certainty is an overstatement, but most have probably come to realize the importance of small businesses. It's what gives character and identity to a community. One suggestion that I heard recently by Jeff Finkle, president of the International Economic Development Counci

BBA Economic Digest: The Great Decoupling

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer The Great Decoupling Continues Press reports from Washington indicate that members of Congress are discussing ways to prompt American companies to move operations out of China. This could, and let me stress could, have major ramifications for communities nationwide were this to actually happen. China remains the epicenter of much of the world's supply chains. Cutting ties could take years and possibly inflict short-term economic pain. One idea being floated around is that of a $25 billion “reshoring fund” to encourage U.S. companies to drastically revamp their relationship with China, Reuters reports. President Donald Trump has long pledged to bring manufacturing

BBA Digest: Up Your Game

Nearly three million people filed new unemployment claims last week, bringing the two-month tally to 36.5 million. For those who've managed to get applications approved, the extra $600 a week should help avert household financial catastrophe. But the extra cash won't last forever, and timelines for economic recovery are becoming less optimistic. Up Your Game Every day now we see stories in which local governments foresee huge reduction in tax revenues. When that happens, something has to give -- either tax increases or a reduction in services. "It speaks to the economic place we are in right now. We’re seeing what could be a $250 billion shortfall in local governments year over year, so it w

BBA Economic Digest: Digital Lifelines

The jobs numbers for April released by the Labor Department were about as dismal as expected: The economy shed 20.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent — devastation not seen since the Great Depression. The situation was even worse for minorities. Among African-American workers, the unemployment rate was 16.7 percent, and for Latinos it was 18.9 percent. All told, about half of all Americans have a job — the lowest level on record — and it’s expected to get worse. And some people actually said, "Happy Economic Development Week." Digital Lifelines It's a pretty sad state of affairs when Americans without internet access have to sit outside closed cafes and libraries

BBA Economic Digest: What Did You Do?

Another week, another round of job losses -- with 3.8 million people filing for unemployment last week. It brings the total jobless tally to above 30 million with an unemployment rate inching toward that seen in the Great Depression. In the journey to reopen America, many states are lifting restrictions, allowing millions of people to return to restaurants, malls and movie theaters. But, like so much else in this crisis, it has been fraught with political battles, tensions between urban and rural areas and unease among businesses and the public. What Did You Do? "Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?" was a recruitment poster during World War I in Great Britain. A similar question will be

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