Economic development was the top issue for mayors in their annual State of the City addresses for the fourth year in a row, according to State of the Cities 2017, a report recently released by the National League of Cities. The report explains:

  • 66% of state of the city speeches included significant coverage of economic development issues.
  • Much of the coverage was positive, describing “jobs created and developments built.” Wages and employment are generally up, while unemployment rates are down. 
  • The top five economic development topics (in order) were:
      1. job creation
      2. business attraction
      3. downtown development
      4. employment
      5. arts & culture
  • Economic inclusiveness, the need for more jobs that pay a living wage, and efforts to help the middle class are current economic development priorities.
  • Workforce development initiatives that help develop residents’ skills and link job seekers to employers will continue to become a larger component of all economic development work.