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Five economic development “game changers”

October 7, 2013 / Carolina Small Business / Economy, Jobs & Employment

Last week, we blogged about the jobs numbers released by the payroll company ADP. In lieu of the official numbers that would have normally been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (but were not due to the government shutdown), these numbers at least provided a glimpse into the national jobs situation. The ADP report showed that jobs numbers are slower than what was originally projected, despite the fact that small business hiring remains relatively strong. In fact, when looking at the number of jobs we need to get to a long-term economic recovery, we are still far behind, facing a shortfall of 8.3 million jobs.

The Community and Economic Development Program (CED) at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Government posted a blog last week that identified five economic development “game changers”– investments that could be catalysts for increasing economic growth in our economy and creating a greater number of jobs over the next seven years.

The CED blog is re-posted below. These are, of course, not a one-size-fits-all solution for every community, but provide food for thought as states and municipalities make decisions on where to invest and how to craft policies to jump start their economies.

 Five Possible “Game Changers” for Economic Development in the U.S.

Jonathan Morgan

The economic recovery in the U.S. has not gained enough steam in order to produce significant increases in private investment and job creation.  While the overall unemployment rate has steadily declined, the level of joblessness, particularly for certain segments of the workforce, remains very high.  In addition, labor force participation is at a 30-year low.  What can be done to jump start the economic recovery and lay the foundation for a major transformation of the U.S. economy?

A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute identifies five major “game changers” or “catalysts that can reignite growth and reestablish a higher potential trajectory for the U.S. economy.”[1]  The game changers are expected to accelerate economic growth by increasing productivity, expanding GDP, and creating large numbers of jobs by 2020.  The five game changers have direct implications for state and local economic development efforts and exist in energy, international trade, big data, infrastructure, and talent:

  1. Energy – scale up shale gas and oil production.
  2. Trade – reduce the U.S. trade deficit in knowledge-intensive manufacturing by becoming more competitive in those sectors.
  3. Big data – harness the potential of big data analytics to raise productivity in key sectors of the economy.
  4. Infrastructure – increase investment in roads, highways, bridges, transit, and water systems, and take steps to maximize the productivity of infrastructure assets.
  5. Talent – devise and implement new approaches to K-12 and higher education that increase the pipeline of qualified workers and improve labor market outcomes.

The report notes that the five game changers mutually reinforce one another in a variety of important ways that can have a short-term stimulus effect on the U.S. economy and also lead to improved long-term competitiveness.  To what extent do state and local economic development efforts attempt to realize the potential of these game changers?

Jonathan Morgan is a School of Government faculty member.

This entry was posted on September 10th, 2013 and is filed under Built Assets & Housing,Economic DevelopmentHuman & Cultural Assets.