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Global Economic and Industry Trends: What do They Mean on a Municipal Level?

Posted on by Courtney Hendricson

Global trends municipal level

We keep hearing that Connecticut’s industries are changing – manufacturing is becoming more automated, retail is changing as goods are delivered to our doorsteps, healthcare is the fastest growing industry nationwide -- and these trends hold true here in our state. Add tariffs, global economic softening and international political turmoil and most of our community leaders are overwhelmed, to say the least. What can they do locally about any of this? Why should it matter to any of our municipal leaders?

This week, my research colleague Rachel Gretencord and I presented on this topic at the annual Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) convention. The day is always filled with valuable information for our towns and cities and lot of time to catch up with colleagues and friends. This year was no exception. Our presentation was well-attended by key staff and elected and appointed officials that wanted to learn more about the economic “state of the state” and actions they can take to leverage Connecticut’s strengths and mitigate its current challenges. Rachel outlined the trends in some of Connecticut’s key industries and then we brought each one down to the local level so that attendees could examine their own community and how these trends are likely impacting their own business community and what they can do about it.

  • As manufacturing requires different skill sets in robotics and Artificial Intelligence, we encourage our community leaders to partner with their high schools and colleges to prepare the workforce with the specific training and skills they will need to fill jobs accordingly.
  • As retail is becoming more “deliverable”, we encourage our leaders to think about retail in their town and how it can stay relevant as experiential (think “paint and sip”, trampoline park, brewery tours) and local (artisans, food and goods that are unique to your community) – in other words, the type of retail that can’t land on our doorstep in a cardboard box.
  • And finally, as medical office grows statewide, hospitals and clinics are seeking to locate in empty storefronts or strip centers in an effort to be convenient and accessible in high-traffic areas.

These are just a few ways that our local leaders can respond effectively to these global trends and continue to strengthen their local business communities. Reach out to us to learn more or visit with us about your own community economic development challenges.