Industry Clusters

A major step in crafting a region’s economic development strategy focuses on the types of industries to target for expansion and retention. Industry targets are chosen to meet varying community goals ranging from diversifying the economic base, to increasing the average wage, to utilizing natural and labor resources more fully. A community’s economic development efforts should focus on industries in which the community has clear competitive advantages.

Further, target industries should be economically, environmentally, and socially acceptable to the community. This study is based on the concept of industry clusters, which are geographic concentrations of interconnected companies and institutions in a particular field. Where an industry’s employment concentration is greater than the national economy, it is presumed that the production of goods and services is more than sufficient to meet local demand, and is therefore exported, either physically or financially. Where industries are highly concentrated, it is presumed that a high degree of specialization among firms exists, a feature of competitive industry clusters, commonly called primary jobs. These industries drive wealth creation within a region.