Economic Development

Economic development* involves and is focused on “development,” which is about improvement and progress. Economic development can be defined in a number of ways, including:

- An increase in the local standard of living
- A “real” (adjusted for inflation) increase in average household income or per capita income
- Improving the “equity” of income distribution so that all citizens in the community benefit
- Government revenues in balance with its expenditures, allowing for necessary and desirable expansion of services
- Businesses investing more in the area than they require in cost of services or incentives and providing higher wage employment

It is becoming increasingly recognized that economic development generally needs to be facilitated through careful planning and effective implementation of a community-building process. This “gardening” mindset involves a number of activities and programs that create a sustainable healthy economy, such as:

 Creation of a skilled workforce
 Improvement of the business environment (including entrepreneurship)
 Development of the physical infrastructure
 Availability of attractive and suitable land and buildings
 Maintenance of the environment
 Improvement of the quality of life

*excerpted from Managing for Excellence by Dave Kolzow, CEcD

The goal** for economic developers is to provide opportunities across a spectrum of skill levels and industries to build advancement into a community’s economic structure.

**Excerpted from a study entitled: “Creating Quality Jobs: Transforming the Economic Development Landscape,” Constributing Authors, Louise Anderson, Frankie Clostron, Dana Erekat, Shari Garmise, Ph.D., Swati Ghosh, Christopher Girdwood, Carrie Mulcaire, Liz Thorstensen; published by the International Economic Development Council, March 2011; funded by the Ford Foundation