Best Practices

Have You Checked on Your Economy?

Published Aug 26, 2013 by Sarah Mote

The Edward Lowe Foundation has completely redesigned (YE), an online research tool. In addition to a slew of enhancements, the new platform provides more up-to-date data -- including calendar year 2012 -- making it easier for economic development professionals to track business activity, identify growth companies and target their programs more effectively.

"We understand that some economic developers love nothing more than pouring through data, while others would prefer to have a root canal," says Gregg Cole, the foundation's information technology research leader. "The new YourEconomy will make both factions happy because it offers even richer information than before, and yet it's faster to navigate and easier to understand."

YourEconomy website provides up-to-date data for economic development

New features include the YE Indicators, which enable visitors to quickly view the performance of U.S. business establishments from a variety of perspectives. The default indicator shows the impact of all establishments for a specified geographic region and time period. Five indicators dive deeper and look specifically at the performance of different types of companies: Resident, Nonresident, Noncommercial, External Market and Local Market establishments. Seven other indicators zoom in on various kinds of establishment activity: New Startups, Expansion Startups, Closings, Expansions, Contractions, Move In and Move Out.

Other highlights include:

  • Bar graphs that break down establishment, job and sales information according to five employment stages.
  • A details page that shows the actual numbers behind all percentages for whatever indicator, region and time period you're looking at.
  • A rankings page which compares your selected geographic region and time period to other states, MSAs or counties.
  • A time-series graph that shows historic data for your selected region from 1995 through 2012.
  • Enhanced help features via online pop-up boxes, along with a detailed user guide in PDF format for easy download.

Along with the YE redesign, the website's subscription service, which offers industry data and the ability to create custom regions, has been revamped. For $499, subscribers receive a "three-pack" that provides industry data for up to three standard or custom regions. They can also purchase low-cost D&B contact information for selected groups of companies.