This week I was pleased to be able to provide a keynote address at the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA) Spring Conference in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The presentation titled “Transforming the Trendline”, focused on the State of Pennsylvania’s economy and ideas for how to improve. In addition, I was able to share the results of an economic impact study sponsored by PEDA and conducted by Fourth Economy in partnership with Econsult. This study demonstrates that the Economic Development Corporations in the state support $15.6B in economic output that includes $7.6B resulting from retained jobs; $5.1B in construction impacts and $2.8B resulting from new jobs.
While these impacts are significant, Pennsylvania is losing ground to other states that are more aggressively supporting economic and quality of place strategies. Pennsylvania’s support of economic development has been diminished drastically over the past few years. The trendline predictions over the next decade point to troubled times ahead. The economic development ecosystem is making an impact but with far fewer resources than their peers it will not be enough to change the economic realities. The call to action is now and a collaborative approach to developing a vision, goals, and the necessary tools is the only way to transform the trendline for a more prosperous future.