March 22, 2017 – The CEDS, or Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, is updated fully every 5 years and updated as a progress report in the interim years. Since the last full CEDS was completed in 2016, Laura Berkley, Senior Planner, presented information on the 2017 CEDS Progress Report. She reported that the Gross Regional Product was up to $19.54 million (in 2015 dollars), which is the most recent data available. Unemployment is down, but the workforce is also shrinking. According to economic modeling software JobsEQ, overall jobs are projected to increase by less than 1% by 2021, with Health Care and Social Assistance; Construction; and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services being the sectors with the largest growth.
Ms. Berkley highlighted a few topics included in the Opportunities and Threats discussion with the following themes: Arsenal, Infrastructure, Fiscal Matters, and Education and Workforce Training. Items within those criteria are the potential for another Base and Realignment Commission (BRAC) affecting the Arsenal, I-74 bridge, passenger rail, Davenport Transload Facility, Exelon, internet connectivity, the Illinois budget effects, and attracting a young workforce.
Ms. Berkley stated that additional topics are included in the progress report, and progress toward goals set in the 2016 CEDS will also be outlined. She also mentioned that not every community has turned in their economic development projects to include in the report. At the March meeting, Bi-State staff provided a draft of the 2017 CEDS Progress Report to the Commission for review and opened the public comment period. The draft is available on the Bi-State website, and will lay on the table until April when staff will ask for approval of the CEDS Progress Report before it is sent to EDA.