Job Opening: Economic / Workforce Analyst

by Christa Franzi 20. October 2014 09:31



We're looking for an Economic/Workforce Analyst to join the Camoin Team. 

Job Description

The person chosen for this full-time professional level position will primarily serve as a research analyst for a variety of projects, including economic and workforce strategies, real estate and industry market analysis, development feasibility studies, and economic and fiscal impact analysis.  Other responsibilities will include grant writing, supporting the management of client administered programs, helping in the preparation of proposals, social media campaigns, participating in site visits and presentations, and other internal company tasks.  Limited travel. 

Please e-mail cover letter and resume to Robert Camoin at  If selected for additional consideration, we will request additional documentation at a later date.  Please no telephone inquiries.

Desired Skills and Experience

Strong analytic skills in data analysis, professional-level competencies in Excel, excellent writing and communication skills required.

Advanced degree in policy analysis, economics, business finance, urban planning, public administration, or other related field required.

Some professional level experience required, may include temporary work as long as demonstration of aptitude and performance can be made. 

Work in the field of workforce and economic development a plus.

Demonstrable attention to detail and organizational skills.

A good communicator, strong collaborator and team player.

Accustomed to working in an open office setting.

Experience in proofing, copy editing, graphic design, and/or GIS a plus.

Experience with consulting and project management preferred.

Facilitation and presentation skills a plus.

Comfort with social media and on-line collaboration.

Knowledge of research methods including survey/statistical analysis and web-based research.

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Going Beyond the Arcade – The Video Game Industry Today and Tomorrow

by Rachel Selsky 14. October 2014 10:34

The following article appears in the September/October 2014 issue of Expansion Solutions magazine.


Can you remember back to the first video game you played? Was it Tetris? Super Mario Brothers? Angry Birds? What used to be considered child’s play has transitioned into a regular aspect of nearly everyone’s lives, and the demand for newer, faster, and more realistic games is only growing. Nearly 70%1 of American households play video games. With close ties to both the creative and multimedia economies the video game industry is becoming more and more important. This article summarizes the history and trends of the industry and offers ideas on how a community can best attract and grow its video game industry.


With the release of Pong in 1972, game manufacturer Atari spawned the video game industry. Pong was most commonly played in an arcade on a large upright console and was the first game to gain mainstream success and popularity. Since then, the video game industry has seen transformation largely driven by technological innovation. While originally children were the primary market for video games, as the industry matured, so has the age of gamers, with an average age today of 31.2


Since the days of Pong and Tetris, thousands of video games have been released, and the industry has developed into one of the most significant contributors to the “creative economy,” rivaling the film industry in total revenue. In fact, research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that the international digital games entertainment industry was projected to reach $86.4 billion in 2014, three times as large as the music industry. In the United States, the game industry reports sales of approximately $15.1 billion and is growing much faster than the rest of the economy.3 In 2010, the U.S. computer and video game software publishing industry employed over 32,000 people with annual growth of over 8%.4


The increasing jobs and sales in the video game industry is tied to the diversification of the industry as a whole and the fact that video gaming technology has been incorporated into many different aspects of our lives. Here are just three examples of how video game technology has influenced our lives:


Health – A primary concern related to video gaming is that it is not an active way for children and adults to spend their time. The video game industry has combated this image by developing games that are designed to get the user moving and enjoying exercise. Even the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition has recognized “the need to embrace technology in the fight against childhood obesity.”5


Training – Video game and virtual reality technology has been incorporated into a wide variety of training including virtual reality technology that allows pilots, military personnel, police officers, and surgeons to go through their processes as though it was a real situation. This type of training provides trainees with a more realistic scenario and gives them the opportunity to fail in a safe and forgiving environment.


Edutainment – Games are now also designed to act as educational systems for children. The idea is that games are fun, making for a perfect platform to teach math and reading.6



Another trend in the video game industry is the recognition that women are an important, if currently underrepresented, segment of the gaming community. Historically, games have been male-centric with violent, graphic, and sometimes sexist material, all characteristics that do not appeal to many women. However, there has been a shift for some developers to create more characters that transition away from negative, highly sexualized, and stereotyping images of women. Nintendo, for one, has banned violent or sexist material for products played on Wii devices.7 Female game developers are also starting to break into the industry including the group SieEnt, a team of game developers that create video games “for women who want to change the world.” The International Game Developers Association also has a special interest group for women with a mission to “create a positive impact on the game industry with respect to gender balance in the workplace and the marketplace.”


With all this growth and change in the video game industry, it is only normal for economic developers to begin to consider whether it would be a good fit for their attraction efforts. The following is a summary of some of the site selection factors that are important for the video game industry.


Workforce Skills – What is unique about the video game industry is that it exists at a cross-section of technology and art, and the workforce must reflect this. The jobs fall into three major categories (1) creative, (2) technical, and (3) business. The development of a game can require work from hundreds of employees including those with skills and talent in programming, software development, application design, graphic design, sales, management, and usability testing. Companies want to be where there are deep talent pools of these skills. In addition to the technical skills, employees of the video game industry must be skilled at working in teams under the direction of a lead designer. Specific occupations within the industry include animators, writers, voice actors, musicians, software developers, coders, and engineers. Most of the occupations in this industry require a college degree.8


Higher Education – Access to, coordination with, and support from academic institutions is also a major factor for the video game industry. Educational programs specific to the video game industry are being developed around the country, such as the program at George Mason University that offers courses on video game history and theory, computer programing, digital arts and graphics, and motion capture. With educational programs like this popping up around the country, the video game industry has begun to shift away from Silicon Valley to take advantage of the talent that is being trained elsewhere.9


Technology Access – Access to best-in-class broadband is essential to being able to attract the video game industry, and that means 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits) -per-second internet speed for all businesses and residents. Employees of the video game industry want this type of access in their homes as well as at work, so all digital infrastructure needs to be redundant, reliable, and fast. St. Louis, MO, is one area that has 1 gig access and has started to become well known for its emerging video game industry with newer firms developing “quick-to-market” apps for smartphones and tablets.10 For reference, the US average download rate is 25.6 megabits per second for households and as a country ranks 29th in the world.11


Incentive Programs – As in many industries, incentives play a large role in helping to attract, grow, and retain the video game industry. An interesting case of this is Montreal, which was not an early leader in the industry, but as a result of a government commitment to support workforce development, it is now home to one of the largest video game clusters in the world. The government established Multimedia City where it committed to paying 25% of employees’ wages for companies within the targeted industries. This incentive, combined with the low-cost/highly-creative aspect of the culture helped to brand the City as being a center for the multimedia and gaming industry and attract some of the largest video game companies in the world including Ubisoft and Electronic Arts.12


Quality of Life & Networks – Having active local chapters of national and international video game associations can make a place more appealing to someone looking to establish a new video game company who is in need of technical support and assistance. An example of this is the Minneapolis/Saint Paul chapter of the International Game Developer Association, which holds monthly meetings and helps gamers network within the region.


The video game industry is extremely fast paced, with many design and technological advances since the early days of Pong. For communities looking to grow or support the video game industry, the important factors on which to focus are access to broadband and creating an environment that is attractive and nurturing to creative professionals.




1 Massachusetts Digital Games Insitute Steering Committee, 2011

2 Entertainment Software Association, 2014

3 Massachusetts Digital Games Insitute Steering Committee, 2011

4 Siwek, 2010

5 Wilkie, 2012

6 Madsen, 2012

7 Beller, 2009

8 Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011

9 Hobbs, 2010

10 Feldt, 2014

11 United States Household Download Index, 2014

12 Pilon & Tremblay, 2013


Thank you to Eugene Evans, CEO of GOPOP.TV for assisting me with this article.




Beller, P. (2009, July 6). Female Gamers on the Rise. Forbes. Retrieved from


Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2011, Fall). Work for Play: Careers in video game development. Occupational Outlook Quarterly, pp. 3-10.


Entertainment Software Association. (2014). Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. Entertainment Software Association.


Feldt, B. (2014, February 24). Why St. Louis' Game Industry is Surging. St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved July 6, 2014, from


Game Design Major. (n.d.). Retrieved from Champlain College:


Hobbs, H. (2010, April 29). New video game design degree popular at GMU. The Washington Post.


Madsen, R. (2012, July 23). IDGA Perspectives Newsletter. Retrieved from IndieSpective: What Are you Kids Learning?!:


Massachusetts Digital Games Insitute Steering Committee. (2011). Getting in the Game: A Plan to Establish the Massachusetts Digital Games Insitute. Boston: Massachusetts Digital Games Insitute Steering Committee.


Pilon, S., & Tremblay, D.-G. (2013). The Geography of Clusters: The Case of the Video Game Clusters in Montreal and Los Angeles. Urban Studies Research. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from


Siwek, S. E. (2010). Video Games in the 21st Century. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from


United States Household Download Index. (2014). Retrieved July 18, 2014, from Ookla:,1/United-States/


Wilkie, C. (2012, April 30). Obama Administration Joins Video Game Industry in Fitness Challenge. Retrieved from Huffington Post:

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Workforce Development in America: A Brief History

by Colleen LaRose 14. October 2014 10:24

If you google workforce development, you are likely to find several different definitions.


Wikipedia says that “workforce development is an American economic development approach that attempts to enhance a region's economic stability and prosperity by focusing on people rather than businesses.”


Another good definition is from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis which states that “workforce development has come to describe a relatively wide range of activities, policies and programs employed by geographies to create, sustain and retain a viable workforce that can support current and future business and industry.”


My definition for workforce development is both simpler and more complex. The really simple version is: “Workforce development is the system that helps put people to work.” But here is where it starts to get a little crazy and complex…that “system” touches on so many inter-related programs at the local, state, and federal levels. So workforce development includes (but is not limited to):

  • Improved communication between business and education providers

  • Employer/employee matching services

  • Skills training and connections to educational resources

  • Improving access to career pathways (articulation agreements, incumbent worker training programs, ESL training, computer training, volunteering, etc.)

  • Connections to social services supports (such as childcare, addiction counseling, etc.)

  • Recommendations for transportation improvements for improved workforce commuting initiatives

  • Business expansion/retention connections for job creation initiatives

  • Recommendations to businesses related to employee retention improvements

  • Entrepreneurship training and support

  • Tax credits and other financial incentives for employers to hire

  • Career development information

  • And more….

It is no wonder that workforce development seems hard to wrap our hands and heads around.


So before we talk more about what workforce development is, let’s talk about where it came from, why it started, and what it was envisioned to be.


Roots in education: The Morrill Acts

Workforce development is inextricably tied to education. As such, it must be noted that prior to the Civil War, higher education was largely “perennialist” in its philosophy. That is to say that the overriding belief about higher education was that it should teach the things that one deems to be of everlasting pertinence to all people everywhere (the topics that “develop a person”). Facts are therefore not as important as principles; the philosophy was much more humanistic and taught reasoning over mechanics or vocational techniques.

Clearly, this is a philosophical debate that continues to this day. The solution developed at that time was "land-grant universities,” which were established largely under the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. The Morrill Acts funded educational institutions by granting federally controlled land to states to sell, raising funds to establish and endow “land-grant” colleges. The mission of these institutions as set forth in the 1862 Act is to focus on the teaching of practical skills in agriculture, science, military science, and engineering, as a response to the industrial revolution and changing social class. This was the first “federal government interference” in helping to define marketable skills that should be taught to support business interests.

The industrial revolution created a need for more worker protection. So, in 1913, the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) was created in response to pressure from organized labor. The goals of the newly established U.S. Department of Labor were to: “foster, promote and develop the welfare of wage-earners, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.”

The New Deal and the WPA

With the crash of Wall Street in 1929, many industrialists lost their fortunes and could no longer employ the workforce they had once supported. This precipitated the New Deal legislation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration which created new programs with the goal of relief, recovery, and reform of the United States economy during the Great Depression .

The most well-know of these programs was called the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration). The WPA was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of unemployed people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. The WPA’s initial appropriation in 1935 was $4.9 billion (about 6.7% of the 1935 GDP). In total, the agency spent $13.4 billion.


On a side note…a lot of people are suggesting that the government should institute a similar program to deal with the economic crisis being faced today…and certainly we do have many infrastructure projects that could be undertaken. But in today’s money, 6.7% of the $16.8 trillion GDP would be $1.12 trillion. The entire USDOL annual budget is only $67 billion and the entire Department of Defense budget is only $601 billion! The entire American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were only $831 you can see that investing $1.12 trillion in a program of the magnitude that was invested in the 1930s in today's dollars would be nearly impossible to achieve.


As stated in a 2013 article from the Economic Policy Institute:

“Guaranteeing a return to full employment by the end of 2015 would require policymakers to fund economic stimulus of roughly an additional $650 billion in 2013 and somewhere in the range of $1.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion over the next three years. That these amounts are so far outside the current bounds of political viability indicates how divorced from economic reality the fiscal policy-making debate has become.”


Between 1935 and 1943, the WPA provided almost 8 million jobs, and at its peak in 1938, the WPA provided paid jobs for 3 million unemployed men and women, as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration. The goal of the WPA was to provide one paid job for all families in which the breadwinner suffered long-term unemployment. The stated goal of public building programs was to end the depression or, at least, alleviate its worst effects. Millions of people needed subsistence incomes. Work relief was preferred over public assistance because it maintained self-respect, reinforced the work ethic, and kept skills sharp.

The WPA program ended on June 30, 1943, as a result of low unemployment due to the worker shortage of World War II.

The year 1933 was also the year that the Wagner–Peyser Act was established, creating the first public labor exchange service, matching workers with jobs, and is still in effect today, more commonly known as the “employment service” (although many refer to it as the “unemployment office”). This national employment system offered federal grants to states to assist in job-matching activities to help workers find jobs and help employers find workers.

The Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962

The next incarnation of the workforce development system came in 1962 and was called the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 (MDTA). This program was intended to retrain workers dislocated by technological advances (doesn’t that sound familiar?). The MDTA program was not aimed at eliminating poverty, but was rather about intervening to aid workers as they went through a “structural unemployment phase.” The government assumption was that the old industries would be replaced by “new industries.” Because of this assumption, the emphasis was on job training and was targeted largely to economically disadvantaged persons who had been employed in labor intensive positions that were being replaced by technological advances. The training service providers in the MDTA program were funded directly by the federal government

Simultaneously, there were also programs established at this time that were focused on Johnson’s War on Poverty that did include employment and training components in them. For example, the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) established Community Action Partnership (CAP) agencies, Vista, Job Corps, Head Start, and community development corporations (CDCs) who received their funding from the Office of Economic Opportunity, and included employment and training programs as part of the strategy to rebuild the community infrastructure and economies of distressed neighborhoods.

The Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973

The MDTA program was replaced by the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) in 1973. CETA encouraged community-based trends and unlike the MDTA program, decentralized control of federally sponsored job-training programs. CETA funding was a hybrid block grant program with local units of government administering basic training components. CETA also for the first time included programs for specific targeted groups and for public service employment. However, because it was largely a locally controlled program with little state or federal oversight, there were many charges of corruption and mismanagement of funds. As the program became snarled with complicated regulations, it became clear that it would need to be revised and so was replaced with the Job Training and Partnership Act (JTPA) of 1983.

The Job Training and Partnership Act of 1983

JTPA focused on low-income people, created a new local governance structure called Private Industry Councils (PICs), and eliminated public sector employment, which had been a core element of CETA.

Under JTPA, the United States Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration (ETA) began giving states and local areas grants funded by National Employment Service (Wagner–Peyser funding), to develop and implement “One-Stops” for workforce services.

The Workforce Investment Act

In 1998, this idea of “One Stop” for the delivery of workforce services became foundational in the legislation introduced under President Clinton called the Workforce Investment Act.


In the next workforce article of our “Economic Development Navigator” newsletter, we will take a look at the details of the workforce investment act (WIA) and how that legislation has shaped today’s workforce system to become more employer-driven and economic development–based.


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The Labor Allocation Challenge: The Economist Magazine Responds

by Michael N'dolo 14. October 2014 10:23

In last month’s newsletter, we launched a “big-think” theme about the macroeconomic trends leading to job dislocations and how we, as economic developers, can think about it and respond (article). By coincidence, The Economist just published a special report called “The Third Great Wave” (October 4, 2014 edition) that covers the same theme about how automation, more so than outsourcing, has led to job losses in the U.S. and implications for national economies across the globe. The Economist’s predictions matched well with ours, that job displacements are likely to continue and perhaps accelerate, referring alarmingly to a recent analysis by Oxford economists that “…47% of employment in America is at high risk of being automated away over the next decade or two.”


The Economist went on to lay out three potential responses to this “Labor Imbalance” (which we originally referred to as the “Labor Allocation Challenge”). We paraphrase these responses below and outline how the economic development community might react:


The Economist Response #1: Raise the productivity of less-skilled workers

This is not about magically making low-wage workers into production stars. It focuses more on matching labor needs in the areas where labor is demanded. The Economist cites the lack of affordable housing in dense urban areas as a key hindrance to growth—if your labor force cannot live in proximity to employment centers, they cannot be engaged in production in a cost-effective manner, therefore raising production costs. Employers will naturally substitute capital (i.e., machinery and automation) when labor costs rise. The same argument applies to transportation, mass transit, and other sorts of infrastructure gaps.


It seems counterintuitive to state that the government should be making significant public investments to promote the creation of low-skilled and hence low-wage jobs! Should we not instead be investing the public’s money to turn low-skilled workers into high-skilled ones? (See response #2). It all depends on what your goal is: maximize output or maximize employment levels? Remember that many high-skilled jobs are those that resulted from job-dislocation automation in the first place! Pushing all of our labor into high-skilled positions would theoretically increase job dislocations and potentially increase the ranks of the unemployed. Is it acceptable for us as a nation to have an essentially permanent class of (both high- and low-skilled) unemployed people?


What does this mean for ED Professionals?Low-wage jobs will come back in vogue??? It seems preposterous, but an “out-of-the box” idea for ED professionals might actually be to measure our success in convincing the reticent public to subsidize and make major investments in affordable housing, mass transit, and infrastructure, so as to promote industry growth in low-wage, low-skill jobs! That would be a hard pill for many ED professionals to swallow, but it is largely the day-to-day reality for some of our clients in the most densely urban areas of the country. Every person taken off of public assistance and placed into employment, however lowly paid, is a significant gain for these heavily urbanized areas. A second and perhaps more palatable implication is that we perhaps have to stop counting jobs altogether and instead focus on aggregate income with a steady eye to income redistribution (see response #3) and equality.


The Economist Response #2: Turn low-skilled workers into high-skilled workers

As expected, The Economist details the need to invest in education at all levels: pre-K, elementary, secondary, and post-secondary. As echoed in our own series on the Workforce Paradox, the focus cannot just be on pushing more students into University but must also include the skilled trades and other vocational/technical work.


What does this mean for ED Professionals? — Guess what? We are now all doing workforce development, not just traditional economic development. Camoin itself has adapted to this need by expanding our consulting team and service line to include workforce experts. So, perhaps ED Professionals have to measure their success by the extent to which local workforce development programs adequately meet the needs of current and future employers. Said another way, one measure of success is our ability to discover employer labor needs early and convince others (i.e., WIBs and educational organizations) to take effective and immediate action.


The Economist Response #3: Provide income support for those unable to garner enough for themselves through paid work

The Economist is not known for its love of “market-distorting” government subsidies of any kind, so this one was a real surprise. Included in the possibilities were: raising the minimum wage (to encourage investment in workers, offset by increased labor costs causing further dislocations), subsidizing low-wage work (e.g., the Earned-Income Tax Credit in the United States), facilitating job-sharing that is financially supported by governments (a form of subsidy to those voluntarily or non-voluntarily working less than full time), and what amounts to welfare (“universal basic income,” with its myriad issues and complications).


What does this mean for ED Professionals? — This sort of government policy typically happens at the federal and state level (transfer payments in particular), more so than at the local governmental level. So, our purview is quite limited here. Or is it? There are indirect income supports that local governments can participate in. For example, promotion of affordable housing and moderate-rent market-rate housing (using land use policy changes) is an indirect way to put more money into low-income households. Mass transit is almost always subsidized by the host municipality, again effectively lowering costs for users and thereby providing income support. One way to think about property tax abatements, a much-maligned ED policy tool, is lowering costs for businesses that allow them to hire workers that could not otherwise be afforded in that location. So, the public is giving up tax revenue as a form of job subsidy which provides income to low-wage workers.


Final Thoughts

We are not left with much to work with, unfortunately. Focusing on the creation of low-wage jobs (#1) smacks of desperation and is unlikely to garner much enthusiasm. Raising the bar educationally (#2) has a feel-good aspect to it and is likely to work out quite well for those more educated people who actually find employment, but it also likely to accelerate job dislocation. Subsidization of the income of low-wage workers (#3) can be an effective policy tool, as evidenced by the much-acclaimed Earned Income Tax Credit, but it somewhat out of the hands of local ED officials. Instead, we are left to focus on investments in infrastructure, transportation, and housing that collectively act as the enablers of job creation for low- and mid-skill jobs.

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The Labor Allocation Challenge: Responses from Near and Far

by Michael N'dolo 14. October 2014 10:22

In last month’s newsletter, we launched a “big-think” theme about the macroeconomic trends leading to job dislocations and how we, as economic developers, can think about it and respond (article). We have had a number of responses to the key questions of the article (What does the future hold? What do we do about it?) that we wanted to share here. But first, a brief re-introduction to the conclusion of the original article.


If the trends noted are correct, one likely outcome would be that the labor force will simply have to shrink as the aggregate demand for labor falls below the market-clearing price point where the supply of labor is effectively used up (i.e., where all those looking for work are absorbed at an acceptable wage rate). We described a few ways this could happen: (1) working-aged people choosing to remain outside the formal workforce in informal work as stay-at-home moms and dads, caretakers for elderly relatives, etc., (2) involuntary removal via skills-related disability status (an injury combined with a low level of education rendering a worker essentially unemployable), and (3) voluntary removal of various types such as early retirement, part-time self-employed work, and volunteering in lieu of paid work.


We seem to have missed one: the redefinition of what constitutes full-time work. A new twist on this has recently made the rounds in the press with Carlos Slim (Mexican multi-billionaire) prognosticating that workers of the future will work only three days a week but for a much longer number of years, providing immediate leisure time but maintaining the value of experience and skill for a longer period of time. We note that, already in the present time, a number of countries have policies in place that effectively limit working hours, the most famous of which is perhaps that of France’s 35-hour work week combined with five weeks of paid leave and retirement at the tender age of 55 to 60 (recently raised back to 62 for some, Quelle Horreur !).


On a more factual basis, the OECD publishes data it aggregates from national sources on hours worked per year per worker by country, along with historical trends. (Note that the data reflect wage and salary workers, not the self-employed, and are an average of both full- and part-time workers. And OEDC provides an important caveat: “The data are intended for comparisons of trends over time; they are unsuitable for comparisons of the level of average annual hours of work for a given year, because of differences in their sources.”)


Below is the data for the U.S., showing that from 1950 to 2013 average hours worked dropped from +/- 2,000 to +/- 1,800. But that hides a more interesting pattern, namely that the hours worked dropped precipitously from 1965 to 1980, leveling off for twenty years, followed by a more modest decline to the present day.



As noted above, each country collects data a bit differently, so if would be incorrect to directly compare one country to another on the numbers reported. However, if we normalize the data and just look at trends, we should be fairly safe to discuss how the trend in each country compares to the trend overall. The dark grey line shows the OECD average (note that the OECD is a club of largely rich countries) dropped steadily over the time period for a total decline of about 12%. On a per-country basis, there is a wide dispersion of trends, however, with the U.S. dropping about 6% and France dropping 25%. The surprises: (a) Sweden is neck-to-neck with the U.S., (b) Japan followed the U.S. pattern until the late 1980s, after which their real estate and stock market bubble popped and they almost caught up to France, and (c) the U.K. sits about in the middle of the two extremes despite being considered much aligned with the U.S. free-market, Anglo-Saxon economic policies.



Given the trend data, above, the very definition of work itself has been changing for some time. Perhaps the across-the-board decline is due to an increasing incidence of part-time work or more people accepting full-time work that requires fewer than 40 hours per week (which seems like a contradiction but is not) or perhaps it is due to higher levels of vacation/sick/holiday/other paid leave (such as maternity leave) time, or perhaps yet another explanation.


In any case, Carlos Slim’s assertion seems less far-fetched in light of the fact that U.S. workers already spend an average of less than 35 hours per week on the job and look to continue this decline into the future.


What’s it all mean for ED Professionals? Perhaps this trend is the answer to our question about what lies in the future for the labor force and sheds light on what ED professionals can do to respond. Perhaps our metrics of success should not be in the number of new jobs, but rather:

  • Income per hour worked, not annual income or even official salary (which may not properly account for the value of paid time off)

  • Output per hour worked, as opposed to per job, to measure the strength of a particular business

  • Number of part-time jobs, as opposed to full-time-equivalent jobs

  • Flexibility of job hours, allowing for informal work, volunteerism, leisure



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Data Love: Manufacturing Data

by Christa Franzi 14. October 2014 10:21

Investing in Manufacturing Communities Data Tool

We keep hearing manufacturing isn't dead,” but is it alive and well in your community? To help regions understand their manufacturing sector, the Census developed a regional data tool along with a list of other resources that can help answer this question.




Geographies: U.S., states, counties


Years Available: Varies based on dataset, 2007 Economic Census & 2011 Business Patterns


Purpose: Assess manufacturing sector.



  • Collect supporting data for Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership Grants (IMCP) applications

  • Identify key technology and manufacturing sectors in a regional economy

  • Compare regional economies and assets with other competing regions (i.e., identify your competitive edge)


Quick Tips: Okay so this is not the prettiest data tool I've ever used, but the data is FREE (well, we pay for it via our taxes). The biggest "tip" I can offer is be patient, and explore all of the tabs—both the four blue tabs right under the title and the grey ones under the selection windows. Some of the best data is buried…



Questions this Data Can Answer:


How many Dairy Product Manufacturing establishments are in my county?



Show me the money—how much economic activity is generated by manufacturers in the region?



Are the manufacturing business in the region small-scale manufacturers or 100+ employee companies?


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Featured Indicator: New York’s Manufacturing Workforce

by Tom Dworetsky 14. October 2014 10:20

In continuing with the focus of last month’s indicator on manufacturing, this month we will take a look at workforce data to find out which manufacturing industries have been hiring in New York State. Using data from U.S. Census Longitudinal Employer–Household Dynamics (LEHD) Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI), we can determine which subsectors have hired the most workers and get a sense of which industries are showing a demand for labor. We will also explore the education level of these hired workers.


The chart below shows the top 10 manufacturing subsectors (3-digit NAICS) in New York State with respect to the average number of quarterly hires between 2012 Q4 and 2013 Q3 (the most recent yearlong period for which data is available). The data is for workers 25 and older.



We see that food manufacturing was the top-hiring industry. This industry hired an average of 2,774 employees per quarter during the timeframe of interest. The second-ranked industry was computer and electronic product manufacturing, followed by chemical manufacturing.


Digging deeper into the data, we can analyze the education levels of these recently hired workers to understand the types of jobs that manufacturing industries have been filling. The next chart shows the top 10 manufacturing subsectors in New York by percent of hires with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Computer and electronic product manufacturing ranked first by far, with an average of 37% of quarterly hires holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Looking back at the first chart, this subsector ranked second in hires overall. No other subsector had more than 30% of hires holding such a degree.



Some of the industries appearing on this chart are more surprising than others. While apparel manufacturing and textile mills, for instance, might typically be thought of as employing low-skilled workers, this data reveals that over a quarter of new hires in these subsectors are highly educated.


Why is this important?

In last month’s indicator, we made the point that while manufacturing jobs in the U.S. are in decline overall, manufacturing output is not. What’s more, in certain subsectors and in certain regions, manufacturing remains a critical employer. The data presented here shows the extent to which manufacturing firms are hiring—the top ten subsectors alone accounted for a quarterly average of over 16,000 hires of workers over 25 in New York. And many of these newly hired workers have advanced degrees.


Click here to download data on the education level of recent manufacturing job hires in New York State. A quick data note: LEHD data is available for all states except Massachusetts, so it is not possible to access nationwide data. 

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Economic Development needs Workforce Development:

by Christa Franzi 18. September 2014 09:38

Camoin welcomes Colleen LaRose, Workforce Development Specialist

We see it in nearly every community we work in: businesses are increasing demand for qualified workers and struggling to fill positions while jobless individuals lack the education and skill necessary to compete for these positions. In today’s world, workforce availability is among the top issues for business attraction, retention, and expansion. Economic development needs workforce development as a strategic partner.

Camoin Associates brands itself as a full-service economic development firm, which means as the field of economic development grows and transforms to include disciplines such as workforce development, so must we. To that end, we are excited to announce Colleen LaRose as the newest member of the Camoin team.  Colleen is a workforce development veteran with more than 20 years of experience in workforce development public policy. She has significant experience in issues related to improving literacy, helping people with mental and/or physical disabilities find employment, assisting youth with career awareness, as well as program and systems alignment. She is a champion for collaboration and widely recognized as the nation’s leading advocate for the integration of workforce development with economic development at the local, state, and federal levels. She is also the President and CEO of the North East Regional Employment and Training Association, (NERETA).

We will be combining Colleen’s knowledge, skills, and experience with Camoin’s strengths in data analysis, strategic, planning, and evaluation. Over the next several months, Colleen will be training our staff on occupational demand studies, workforce grant writing strategies, skills gap analysis, wage and salary surveys, and other methods in workforce-analysis. In addition, we will be working collectively on workforce and economic development alignment strategies in an effort to bridge the two disciplines.  

Welcome Colleen! We are thrilled to have you on our team and excited to join you in the charge to bridge workforce and economic development. As you said, “This is big stuff!”

In today’s economy, economic development needs workforce development.


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Camoin Associates completes Portland Economic Scorecard

by Camoin Associates 17. September 2014 17:16

The Camoin team recently completed work on Portland, Maine’s 2014–2015 Economic Scorecard (download here) for the Portland Chamber of Commerce. The City uses the scorecard, which is updated annually, to track a variety of economic indicators that it has aligned with its economic development plan. The scorecard compares Portland’s performance to that of the Greater Portland Region, the State of Maine, and the nation.


Camoin Associates has been working with the Portland Chamber of Commerce since 2010 to develop and complete annual updates to the Economic Scorecard. The purpose of the scorecard is to analyze the data in defined categories to help the City understand how Portland is performing economically, particularly as measured against other benchmark cities.


The scorecard presents 28 indicators that measure local and regional economic growth. These indicators represent a mix of measures that are directly related to economic outcomes such as employment, income, and earnings, as well as indicators that are secondarily related to economic outcomes such as education attainment, affordability, and transportation. The City of Portland and the Portland region are measured against reference cities and regions to gauge performance.


In addition to the data collection and analysis, Camoin Associates works with the Chamber to prepare a full report that is highly visual containing lots of charts to help with comparison.


The scorecard has received quite a bit of press in the last few weeks. Click here, here, and here for news articles covering the scorecard.



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Jim Damicis Wins NEDA 2013 Member of the Year

by Camoin Associates 17. September 2014 16:51

We can’t express how proud we are of our Senior VP, Jim Damicis, for being awarded Member of the Year by the Northeastern Economic Developers Association (NEDA). Jim was recognized for his continued commitment to NEDA and the economic development profession, including serving as an active board member since 2007, helping revitalize the Association’s education programing, and organizing the 2013 annual conference in Portland, Maine. Jim will continue his good work through 2015 as the organization’s incoming president. Congratulations Jim, this is a well-deserved honor.

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About Camoin Associates

Camoin Associates is a professional service firm that utilizes its understanding of the public and private sector investment process to assist businesses and developers in capitalizing on funding, financing and tax programs established to encourage private investment. We also specialize in advising economic development organizations and municipalities in creating strategies, policies and programs that support investment and job creation.   [Click Here for More]

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