One Nation, Pulling Apart

Community Economic Toolbox


Communities today face real challenges in this globalizing world. Jobs, incomes, education, proximity of family members, and general well-being are all tied to a community economy's effectiveness, dynamism, and resiliency. More than ever before, citizens, public and private employers, and civil servants are actively involved in critically examining their local economies as they plan their economic futures. To be successful, everyone involved needs to know how their economy works--its strengths, weaknesses, and hidden potential. This web site, with its tools and links to a wide range of economic development literatures, is designed to enable anyone interested in their local economy to use standard indicators to make a first cut at understanding its potential.

We have selected a set of tools that are standard in the field of community economic development. We focus on understanding elements of a local economy that can often be affected by public policy. In most cases we provide comparisons with the state and the nation to give the user a better sense of the relative circumstances found locally. We provide suggestions for how to use the results of the tools to formulate a picture of the local area and to consider future options. With this list of sources, anyone can delve more deeply into local economic development.

To learn more about your local economy, we encourage you to conduct a detailed study of its current and historical performance. This online toolbox will take you on a tour of your local economy to help you address the important questions at right.

Types of Data Available in the Toolbox:

These are the major types of tools that we'll use throughout the tour:

Using this Web Site:

In the next pages, you'll select the state and then the county that you're interested in examining. After that, you'll be led through each step of the toolbox. In some of the tools you will be able to download data. You can always copy the graphics produced in the toolbox for your own report and public presentations. Each page contains links to the next and previous pages in the tour, so that you can move sequentially back and forth through the site. A table of contents will also allow you to skip to a particular tool if you wish to. Don't forget to check out the list of other sources for more details on local economic analysis.

Technical Footnote

Throughout the site, you'll see technical footnotes like this one. They contain the formulas and methodology for the statistics that you see on the page. If you're not interested in how the data were generated, you can safely ignore these sections.

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Credits, Acknowledgments, and Data Sources

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