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This appendix includes a detailed desription and data source information for this asset class.

Class Definitions
Data Sources Links to Data

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Industrial Base Description

Understanding a region’s industrial base is an essential step for crafting an effective economic development strategy. Economic development professionals need to have sound understanding of the key employers in a region, including product and service offerings, business models, and bases for competitive advantage. Since it is very difficult to build an industry from scratch, regions are best served by first trying to build from areas of traditional strength. Cluster analysis can identify regional strengths and weaknesses that do not necessarily come to light using the conventional wisdom of how regional industries are structured.

Industrial Base Metrics

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Specialization by Traded Cluster

The Cluster Mapping Project at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness uses county-level data and statistical techniques to identify clusters in regional economies. Professor Michael E. Porter, the leader of the project, defines clusters as geographically concentrated groups of interconnected companies, universities, and related institutions that arise out of linkages across industries. Data is available at the state, economic area, metropolitan area, and inner-city levels. Clusters fall into three categories: traded, local, and natural endowment dependent. Regional wealth is driven by the performance of industries that export goods and services outside of the region, and therefore the traded clusters are of greatest interest to the innovation-based model. The Cluster Mapping Project website ( is a subscription service, but some data is available free of charge.

Patents in Traded Clusters

The Cluster Mapping Project also offers time-series data on patenting within traded clusters, which is useful for tracking the rate of regional innovation over time. With innovation driving regional competitiveness, traded clusters with sustained growth in patents may be the best targets for economic development initiatives.

Links to Data: View suggested Industrial Base public sources in the table below.

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Evaluation Areas Data Source Website
Clusters Harvard Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness Cluster Mapping Project
Patents in Traded Clusters Harvard Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness Cluster Mapping Project
Cluster Employment, Location Quotient Harvard Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness Cluster Mapping Project
Cluster Employment, Location Quotient Moody’s
Cluster Employment, Location Quotient EMSI Strategic Advantage

The following data sources and evaluation criteria are all related to industrial base.

Major Employers

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Data Evaluation Criteria
List of largest employers in region Position versus international competitors in their industry
Names, location, and contact information for officers Growth plans of individual firms
Applicable industrial codes Successful collaboration with other regional entities
Number of employees Number of Registered ISO companies
Product and service offerings Business satisfaction survey cut by cluster to determine key gaps or needs for firm development


Data Evaluation Criteria
List of regional clusters Growth rate of employees, firms, concentration
Number of firms in clusters Benchmark clusters against others outside the region in terms of size, concentration, innovation output (patenting)
Number of employees in clusters Business satisfaction survey cut by cluster to determine key gaps or needs for cluster development
Cluster support structure Business satisfaction with related and supporting services (law, banking, consulting etc.)

Location quotients of clusters

Shift-share analysis of key clusters

Small Businesses/Entrepreneurship

Data Evaluation Criteria
List of successful entrepreneurial firms Rate of firm birth and firm death (versus competitor regions) Net Business Creation Rates
Names and locations of entrepreneurship and small business support centers/programs Amount of VC and Angel funding received by regionally-based firms
List of supporting professional firms, including lawyers, accountants, marketing firms, etc. Business satisfaction with entrepreneurial support organizations/training
Department of Labor CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration
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