Latest in Economic Development

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This week’s latest in economic development focuses on FDI, some state-level incentive mishaps, small business confidence, worker skill mismatch, and Creative Class 2.0. Have things to add, contact me at

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Cities look to attract more foreign direct investment.  Toledo, Ohio, which has been courting Chinese investment for the past couple years, is working on a regional effort to bring together 200 foreign investors, mainly from China, with 200 business leaders and economic development officials from 17 counties in Northwest Ohio and Southwest Michigan for a 3-day investment centered forum (via Economic News From Ohio’s Regions).

In Denver, a meeting between foreign-owned companies and local economic development officials produced five suggestions on how the region could be more adept at FDI: “Help for executives to better integrate themselves in the community; the addition of more direct international flights from Colorado airports; the reliability and accessibility of energy resources; improvement for infrastructure for product transportation; and a stable tax and regulatory environment.”

The Creative Class turns ten and to celebrate, it’s getting a pony revised edition! It’s been ten year’s since Richard Florida’s still controversial book Rise of the Creative Class was released and the revised edition, which now reflects Florida’s “ideal vision of the future” in which all jobs are “creatified, hit the shelves this week. And while no doubt there will be plenty of controversy and reactions in the urban planning realm in the coming weeks, in the meantime, if you want to check out the revised edition, excerpts can be found  here, here, and here.

Economic development incentives are often controversial and shrouded in secrecy, however, Floridians are getting a glimpse of the state’s economic development incentives, as 80 deals that were under confidentiality agreements were mistakenly released.  While Wisconsin, on the backs of criticism about a premature incentive commitment during an open bid process, is pledging new safeguards.

 One-third of surveyed small businesses report they will look for financing in the next six months according to a new survey by Pepperdine University and Dunn and Bradstreet Creditability Corp. Not surprisingly, however, those small businesses with revenues between $5 million and $100 million expressed more optimism than those under $5 million in their ability to secure a loan.

Massachusetts, with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, is conducting an in-depth study of its workforce. The efforts’ first report found that “Despite higher unemployment among young workers in Metro South/West, young workers don’t seem to be moving into jobs being vacated by retiring baby boomers, stoking fears of a mismatch between the skills that younger workers are learning in schools, community colleges, and universities and the qualifications needed by employers.” Detroit top tech companies begin a pilot program to train workers. Facing a shortage of skilled IT workers, for example 368 open tech positions at Quicken Loans, four of Detroit’s tech companies, in partnership with local universities, have launched a training program “to help students transition between the classroom and the workplace.”