This month’s episode of Economic Development Secrets features Tanner Jones, Research Analyst for Baldwin County, Alabama’s Economic Development Alliance. The episode focused on research and data and how communities can use this information as a resource. In the excerpt below, Tanner gives advice to economic developers on how to begin using data more and where to find the information they need.
It can be very intimidating, the amount of information that’s available and trying to make sure that you’re using it in not only an efficient way, but that you are providing accurate and up to date information. I think the Census Bureau is a great place to start. I know some people use On the Map, or Business Builder. I’m a huge fan of just going through the American Fact Finder which is on the Bureau’s website and just looking at an individual municipality or at the county and clicking through the information that’s available on there.
There are a number of government resources out there. BLS, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BEA the Bureau of Economic Analysis. All those public resources are the same but the Census Bureau of course covers the most information. I would suggest to start there if its intimidating, just start with income information and pick that apart. Or just start with your demographic information on the population and just kind of look at that from a year over year basis. I think showing those trends is important for the momentum of your community and making sure that you’re making the right decisions from at least using the data that you have.
Use the player below to listen to the full episode: