Tracking Retail Closures

At Fourth Economy we have been tracking the news about retail store closures.  These store closures often can leave significant redevelopment challenges for local community and economic development officials. In future posts we will highlights some of the ways that communities are dealing with these buildings. According to Business Insider more than 5,000 store closures have been announced so far, with the potential for nearly 9,000 store closures by the end of 2017. These store closings are the most physical manifestation of the challenges facing the retail sector.

As a resource to the community, Fourth Economy has started to identify and compile a list of retail store closings. Tracking down the locations has proven to be a challenge, but we have identified 1,768 of these closings so far.  You can see the results in the above Working Map of Retail Closings, created in Tableau Public.  We are providing this as a resource to the community and will continue to update it as closings are announced and locations identified.  If you know of any closings in your area, please send them to engage@fourtheconomy.com and we will update the map.

Stay tuned for more.

Co-authors: Jamie Reese & Katie Grauer

Big Visions Get Big Dollars in Indiana

IndianaBlogImageOn Tuesday, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) announced $126 million in state matching funds to support three regions in pursuing their visions for growth. The Regional Cities Initiative was developed based on a study of regions that have experienced transformational growth, performed last year by Fourth Economy, and is being funded by a tax amnesty program. Tuesday’s announcement was the culmination of months of planning on the part of Indiana’s regions, and Fourth Economy was fortunate enough to facilitate and advise on the strategy for two of the winning regions in those efforts – Northeast Indiana (home to Fort Wayne) and Michiana (home to South Bend). Here are a few lessons learned from our work helping multi-county, cross-sector partnerships identify and prioritize quality-of-life investments meant to attract and retain population.
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National Fourth Economy Community Index Lists Top Ten Large-Sized Counties

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Fourth Economy Consulting announces the latest release of its national community index, listing top counties from across the nation. The Fourth Economy Index highlights those communities ideally positioned to attract modern investment and managed economic growth within the fourth economy.

PITTSBURGH, PA – The latest edition of the Fourth Economy Community Index was announced today, recognizing the top ten large-sized Fourth Economy Communities. These communities—with populations between 150,000 and 499,999—were selected because they represent regions that are poised to achieve sustainable economic growth while attracting people and investment.


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Request for Information: Fourth Economy Seeking Information for Current Client’s RFP Directory

Burgh-BridgeFourth Economy Consulting announces posting of a Request for Information for a current client project. Submitting firms will be included in a one-stop-shop resource directory of best-in-class urban-regional + economic development planning firms. This directory provides client with stocked resource for direct RFP solicitation to leading firms.

Fourth Economy Consulting (FEC) is soliciting company information from urban-regional and economic development planning firms to be used in directory resource for a current client. FEC is presently working with a Midwestern client on the research and developmental stages of a large, multiphase statewide initiative. The client’s ambitious project has requested FEC to perform a preliminary expert study of successful regional economic and quality of life transformations in metro areas throughout the US. Continue reading “Request for Information: Fourth Economy Seeking Information for Current Client’s RFP Directory”

The University Economic Engine

UnivEconEngineColleges and universities are a critical driver for regional and national development.  They are critical to the well being of our nation and the communities that they serve, as much as these institutions depend on vibrant communities and a strong nation for their own success. Deregulation of banks and utilities have weakened the traditional economic development partnership, leaving colleges and universities as the one viable partner that shares and shapes community goals.  Colleges and universities have been strong job creators, adding more than 341,000 jobs in the last ten years. Continue reading “The University Economic Engine”

A Fourth Economy Work Product with Legs

131122-Transit-ReportOne of the regular questions asked of our firm is “what Fourth Economy projects or reports have been implemented?”  While we think all of them have added value and are implemented to some degree, one project stands out.  In 2009 Fourth Economy teamed with Clear View Strategies and URS Corporation to conduct a study on Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

The client was the Southwestern Planning Commission in Pennsylvania.  The product entitled Future Investment in TOD (or FIT) was a first of its kind report that not only documented the success factors for a TOD but also provided a predictive model for planners and economic developers to determine where and how a TOD development would have the greatest economic impact and success. Continue reading “A Fourth Economy Work Product with Legs”

This is What I Have Always Wanted To Do: On The Economy, Jobs, and Student College Majors

130828-Always-WantedLast week, college students- freshmen through PhDs- embarked on yet another semester of working toward graduation. But to what end? How will they benefit from a college degree? Simultaneously, how will our economy benefit from having college graduates in the workforce? Economically, the question of why individuals choose specific skill sets is important to ask when considering workforce development and economic growth in a region. Employers demand certain skill sets for the jobs they are trying to fill and college graduates need jobs to pay for their mounting student loans. Despite the lower unemployment rates among college graduates, there remains a mismatch between what job skills employers need and what students “want” to select as majors. Employers remain desperate and scrambling for individuals with the skill sets needed to fill job openings and allow employers to grow their businesses. Continue reading “This is What I Have Always Wanted To Do: On The Economy, Jobs, and Student College Majors”

Numbers Behind the News: The Truth about CEO Pay

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CEO pay has been in the news a lot lately.  The AFL-CIO released its annual report showing that the pay gap between the top CEOs and average workers was a stunning 354:1 in 2012, compared to 1982 when the top CEOs earned on average only 42 times the average worker.   In 1982, the CEO would have to work 48 hours to earn as much as the average employee.  By 2012, the CEO would only need to work 6 hours.  Continue reading “Numbers Behind the News: The Truth about CEO Pay”

Connecting Town and Gown through the University Economic Development Association (UEDA)

Photo-Rustiq-TemplateFourth Economy has been providing management and development services to the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) for more than a year now.  Last month more than thirty UEDA members and Board convened in Washington D.C. to discuss the Association’s operational plan and provide updates on each of the committees’ action items. “A special thanks to all of those who were able to attend the UEDA Spring meeting,” said UEDA President Chuck Shoopman. “We learned from our presenters and each other while making good progress with face-to-face committee meetings. The energy in the room was positive and productive,” Shoopman added.
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Numbers Behind the News: What is Driving Unemployment?

U.S. unemployment peaked at 15.4 million persons in October 2009 and has been falling back towards 12 million ever since.    Unemployment has always been the most troublesome statistic because it is one of the most widely recognized and flawed of the economic indicators. The recent drop has brought claims that the numbers have been manipulated.  Of course, this would be very hard to do.  Unemployment numbers are reported by companies to state bureaus that are staffed generally by civil servants.  In 29 states, the Governors are Republican and it is not very likely that they would be manipulating numbers to make Obama look good. Continue reading “Numbers Behind the News: What is Driving Unemployment?”