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Local ED Already Squeezed, According to ACCRA Survey

September 12, 2005

The average budgets for local and regional economic development organizations fell nearly 3 percent between 2004 and 2005, according to the second annual survey by ACCRA. The vast majority of the 750 respondents are involved in economic/community development research and traditional economic development activities, including facility and site development marketing, infrastructure development and planning, and community marketing.

As economic development organizations (EDOs) continue to broaden the definition of their role in supporting a variety of economic development activities, they will need to develop a greater revenue base and more diverse lines of financial resources. EDOs continue to focus on their core competencies of marketing communities and facilities to businesses. However, data suggests that small organizations do not have adequate resources to implement these efforts effectively. The survey revealed that substantial change is occurring in the profession as economic developers are limited in their access to resources, encouraged to collaborate, and pressured to adopt new techniques for economic development.

Staffing levels for those surveyed services and activities most closely tied to tech-based economic development were mixed. One-third of the respondents dedicate at least 0.5 full-time equivalent staff hours to increasing private access, up from 29 percent in 2004. Efforts toward technology and product adoption/development, on the other hand, dropped from 14.9 percent of the EDOs in 2004 to 12.2 percent in 2005.

ACCRA’s survey of Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) reports and analyzes feedback from over 750 economic development organizations to better understand scope of services and structure, including staffing requirements, budget information, salary details, and size of area served.

In addition to staff activity, the survey results offer details on salaries at all levels, a comparison of salaries for 2004 and 2005 and an analysis of salaries by geography. The report also discusses differences in salary due to experience, gender, job title and education.

The full results of the survey are available in the ACCRA store for $45. Members can view the results by logging in to the Member Area. Please visit www.accra.org to order the results or call 703-522-4980.