As we approach the Northeastern Economic Developers Association annual conference, Camoin Associates decided to take a broad look at the regional economy served by that organization.
Specifically, we wanted to know which industry sectors had produced the most new jobs over the past decade. At the three-digit NAICS level, that list was topped by Ambulatory Health Care Services; Food Services and Drinking Places; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Social Assistance; and Educational Services. This reflects the ongoing shift of the American economy further toward a true service economy.1
On a more granular level, some of the industries driving the most growth in those sectors include home health care, full service restaurants, computer systems design, services for the elderly and the disabled, and higher education. We investigated what types of occupations those industries tend to employ in the greatest numbers. Food preparation and food service occupations are by far employing the most individuals within these sectors in the Northeast, but higher-skilled, knowledge-based occupations are featured prominently as well, especially, healthcare practitioners and healthcare technical and support occupations; and education, training, and library occupations.
If you live and work in the Northeast, you might recognize this picture as a reflection of your local or regional economy. What can you do to steer your community towards success in this increasingly service-based and knowledge-based economy?
To develop a strategic approach, it’s important to research local conditions to understand how your area fits into, or differs from, the rest of the Northeast and national economies. A deeper dive and additional market research can uncover local supply chain opportunities around which to focus your business growth and retention tactics. It’s increasingly imperative to coordinate efforts to improve regional workforce pipelines with broader economic development activities. By actively engaging a wide set of stakeholders in the creation and implementation of economic development strategies, you can start to build internal buzz that forms the foundation of the best community marketing campaigns—the ones that are successful in attracting business, investment, and talent.
 Although much of the economic development discussion focuses on the need to revitalize America’s manufacturing sector, it’s important to remember that advances in U.S. manufacturing productivity are not being accompanied by increases in manufacturing employment.