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Making Economic Development Work in Uncertain Times

The final months of 2016 were bleak for those with an outlook on the economy. U.S. growth rates in early 2017 shrank to a five-year low of 1.6 percent, making 2015’s and 2014’s totals — 2.6 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively — look robust.

The most recent figures were alarming for most, but they can’t really be considered surprising. If there’s one thing business hates, it’s uncertainty. A long-running theory holds that companies tend to keep their checkbooks pocketed during presidential election cycles. If there’s any validity to that assertion, the recent election season would have been a case study on creating doubt.

We can hardly call the early months of 2017 business as usual, but that does not mean ongoing uncertainty will continue to compromise the U.S. economy. If you look beyond simple growth rates and focus on more refined indicators of growth and C-suite confidence, there is a lot to be optimistic about.

Put Economic Development Into Proper Perspective

The term “economic development” means different things to different people. Generally, anyone looking for your support will couch it in terms of economic development, but the actual advancing of a local economy’s interests and basic boosterism aren’t the same thing.

In my world, economic development is …

Read more from Steve Johnson, CEO of Missouri Partnership, in CEOWORLD.

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