Economic Development Research Group Blog

Recap from the APTA Annual Meeting

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In September, I attended the APTA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. Following the defeat of Nashville’s transit referendum in May, the local transit agency is pressing ahead by investing in its bus fleet and changing its name to “WeGo”—a brand that speaks to transit’s role in building community. A highlight of the conference was a session covering transit ballot measures and how they can succeed. The panelists represented a successful ballot measure (Los Angeles), failed ballot measure (Nashville), and upcoming ballot measure (Las Vegas). The panelist from Nashville shared that many voters were willing to pay for transit but were concerned about how the plan would be implemented after the city experienced an abrupt change in leadership two months before the vote. Organizers from Los Angeles attributed their success in passing Measure M , a 2016 referendum, to several factors. These included a public input process following the release of the...
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Measuring the STEM-Intensity of Your Region

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I recently participated in a workforce roundtable at The Council for Community and Economic Research's (C2ER’s) annual conference in Atlanta. C2ER is a membership organization comprised of economic researchers and data providers from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. This year’s conference theme was “RISE: Resiliency, Innovation, Skills, Equity,” which inspired me to present on workforce data and how it can be used to find job opportunities for people who don’t have a college degree. My presentation explained how STEM occupations—those requiring knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math—are often thought of as well-paying, white-collar jobs held by people with high levels of education. These include engineers and scientists, for example. In reality, there are many occupations that require a level of STEM knowledge and still pay well but are accessible to people without a college degree. These include jobs like arborists, diesel mechanics, electricians, and land surveyors. This disconnect is...
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Improving Regional Economic Analysis: A Case Study

Input-output (I-O) analysis is an important technique used to estimate how changes in one sector of the economy affect employment, wages, and overall production in other sectors. An economist named Wassily Leontief developed the technique decades ago, receiving the 1973 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for doing so. Today, analysts customize national I-O “accounts” produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in order to study regional (sub-national) effects. These accounts describe how industries, households, and government exchange goods and services, and regional models, in turn, use this information to simulate the magnitude, direction, and timing of economic impacts. 
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