Big data is finally starting to hit the world of economic development, with new data sources and tools emerging on a regular basis. That’s a great thing, but the big data revolution still tends to leave out smaller cities and rural communities. Much of the new data is available for states and major metro areas, but if you dig down to small communities or even counties (as I regularly do), it’s much tougher to do a deep dive on economic trends and prospects. That’s why the Atlanta Fed’s Small City Economic Dynamism Index is so useful. The 2nd edition of the Index was just released and I encourage you to take a look. The tool tracks 400 small cities and metro areas around the US, and provides data on 13 different measures of economic dynamism. Issue areas include population migration, human and social capital, economic inequality, and business dynamism. To learn more, visit the Index, check out this article, and also check out the Chicago Fed’s related Peer City Identification Tool.
NOTE If you’re interested in learning more about benchmarking and data, especially for small communities, you may want to join a webinar that I’ll be presenting to the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association on September 13, 2017. You can learn more and sign up here.