The Business Case and Economic Impact of Inclusion
Friday, February 12, 2021
The mission of economic developers is to grow jobs and capital investment in our communities. While the distribution of employment and investment in communities around the country has long been a concern of Economic Development Organizations (EDO), the question about “WHO” in the community benefits from any increase in jobs and investment is attracting widespread attention.
Economic research shows that since the year 2000, minority groups such as Hispanics and African Americans, have been affected by declining of household incomes, growing inequality in income distribution, higher levels of unemployment, concentrated poverty, and low rates of mobility among classes (IEDC, 2016). Unfortunately, the downward trend in economic opportunity continued during the economic recovery, and recent data shows that it has further deteriorated amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The issue of economic opportunity is of great importance to the economic development profession. Growing income inequality in communities hinders the ability to improve the economy (OECD, 2014). The sad reality is that, nationwide, distressed locations are becoming more distressed, while prosperous places are becoming more prosperous. According to an analysis from the Economic Innovation Group (2016), the number of new business establishments and employment creation had grown in prosperous zip codes. In contrast, already distressed neighborhoods are becoming more distressed due to the loss of employment and increased businesses closures.