March 27, 2019 – In February, Rachel Bruce, Planner with Bi-State Regional Commission, provided a draft of the demographics section of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2019 Progress Report (CEDS PR), which breaks down regional statistics on people, place, and the economy. Ms. Bruce also handed out a listing of completed, underway, and planned economic development-related projects in the Bi-State Region. She urged Commissioners to read through those lists and encourage their community employees to provide information on known projects they want included in the plan.

A copy of the Analysis of Regional Economy section was emailed to Commissioners after the meeting. This section includes strengths, opportunities, challenges, and threats (SWOT) to the Bi-State Region’s economy as identified by members of the CEDS committee. Commissioners were encouraged to provide input regarding the SWOT as well as to the general analysis section.

At the March meeting, Denise Bulat, Executive Director of Bi-State Regional Commission, presented a full draft of the CEDS PR, highlighting economic trends in the Quad Cities. She also provided a list of the strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats and emphasized the importance of each community’s economic-related projects.

The CEDS is the result of a locally-based, regionally-driven planning process designed to enhance the economic growth of the Bi-State Region. Components of the CEDS PR include a detailed overview of the people, economy, and sense of place of the Bi-State Region; a description of the strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats; and a list of performance measures to access the progress toward the region’s goals.

In the summary of regional data and demographics, Ms. Bulat noted there is a projected steady slow population growth, tapering in later years. The labor force is declining, but employment is increasing with unemployment declining.  The projected job growth by job sector shows the greatest project increase is in health care and social assistance jobs. There has been a stable recovering Gross Regional Product.

The population pyramid shows fewer 20-year-olds and more 50-year-olds than average. Also, the Bi-State Region has less racial and ethnic diversity than the national average.

The themes related to opportunities and threats include strengthening and supporting the Rock Island Arsenal, the need for improvements and completion of various types of infrastructure projects, various issues that affect fiscal matters and funding, the need for diverse housing throughout the region, and the need to increase the workforce. The economic development projects listed in the plan were collected from partners and member governments and are used to report progress toward goals.