This series of extension publications provides a family of tools that can help you better understand your local economy. The tools offer simple techniques for analyzing, presenting and interpreting readily available economic data. This information can then be used to identify and enhance local economic development opportunities.

Read Me First! Introduction to Industry Classification System

This section explains the industrial classification system, which is a basic framework for categorizing establishments and serves as the basis for regional economic analysis.


This introduction to the Using Employment Data to Better Understand Your Local Economy series gives an overview of using this analysis by defining the local economy, discussing potential economic indicators, and explaining how to use this information.

Tool 1. Develop a "Snapshot" of Important Local Economic Indicators

PDF document, 35.7 KB

This publication explains how to develop a "snapshot," or basic overview, of important economic indicators through charts and tables.

Tool 2. Chart the Historical Performance of Key Economic Indicators

PDF document, 39.9 KB

This booklet explains how to use trend analysis to identify new opportunities and "shocks" to important local indicators, raise or alleviate concerns, and identify growth opportunities.

Tool 3: Use Location Quotients to Identify Local Strengths and Opportunities

PDF document, 39.8 KB

This publication describes using the location quotient, which helps identify those local industries that are producing more than is needed for local use and selling outside the region and those that are not meeting local needs and are a source of consumption leakage. This is the next step, following snapshot and trend analysis, in the Using Employment Data to Better Understand Your Local Economy series.

Tool 4: Shift-share Analysis Helps Identify Local Growth Engines

PDF document, 49.3 KB

This booklet explains how shift-share analysis can be used to overcome the challenge of separating the role of local and national effects on current regional employment trends.

Tool 5. A Pennsylvania Internet Resource for Industry Employment and Occupation Projections

This section focuses on the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) Web site as an online tool for addressing questions about future employment growth such as "What are the expected growth industries and occupations in your local economy?"

Tool 6. Qualitative Analysis Can Provide Unique Insights into Local Economic Performance

This final section in the series explains how practitioners may use qualitative analysis to tap into local expertise in order to identify information on the local economy that does not appear in official statistics.