How do you define a vibrant economy?

A vibrant economy is one that has a talented, diverse workforce; is prosperous, resilient, innovative, and competitive; and has equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.

The 6 pillars of a vibrant economy.

The Vibrant Economy Index will measure our economy through this framework. Each element contains a series of metrics that, when looked at collectively, will help demonstrate how our economy is performing and whether we are making progress toward the aspirational goal of creating a vibrant economy.

Talented

A vibrant economy has a growing, diverse population with equitable opportunities for education,
training, filling good-paying, in-demand jobs in our region.

Equitable

A vibrant economy reduces
disparities in educational attainment, access to in-demand jobs, and economic outcomes for all. 

Innovative

A vibrant economy has businesses with a high adoption rate of new technologies and an environment that encourages start-ups. 

Resilient

A vibrant economy is forward-looking, helps address the core needs of businesses as they grow and innovate; and helps companies to understand why a market is a good, predictable, and safe place for long-term investment.

Competitive

A vibrant economy outperforms comparable regions and markets in gross domestic product, total employment, per capita income, and labor force participation.

Prosperous

A vibrant economy is prosperous when it creates equitable opportunities for more people to work, earn good wages and thrive. It also offers an environment that supports business startups, business growth and strengthens communities.

The Vibrant Economy Index (VEI) is a tool that provides a detailed, nuanced, and accurate measure of the Northeast Ohio Region’s economy, community strength and individual prosperity across all demographics. The VEI also tracks the same measures in 12 markets across the United States.

Over time, the VEI will help us as a region evaluate our economic development strategies, strengthen our competitiveness, and celebrate progress that is happening because of greater alignment.

The VEI goes beyond commonly used high-level data that measure the strength of the economy—employment, GRP, per capita income, and labor force participation—to include data like unemployment by race and gender, educational attainment, poverty, cost of living, broadband access, access to alternative fuel stations, and many others. This expansive set of data helps measure the economic and social wellbeing of individuals, across all races and gender, and the economic health of our communities.

The VEI will help the entire economic development ecosystem in the Northeast Ohio Region— including Team NEO, companies, the public sector, higher education, other economic development organizations, and nonprofits—prioritize solutions to address the disparities that create inequitable economic growth. Over time, the VEI will help us as a region evaluate our economic development strategies, strengthen our competitiveness, and celebrate progress that is happening because of greater alignment.

Over the past two decades, Northeast Ohio’s economy has undergone tremendous change. We have seen some economic growth, experienced significant job loss, diversified our economy, and weathered difficult recessions. Many of our residents continue to face systemic barriers to careers with family-sustaining wages and opportunities to thrive.

Team NEO, along with its partners, recognized these challenges and have developed the Vibrant Economy Index (VEI) as a tool to help address them. Traditionally, we’ve measured our economy with broad data to quantify overall growth and rank economic performance. Measuring our economy only at the macro level can mask specific challenges to economic growth and outcomes that are not equitable across all races and genders.

The VEI’s more encompassing set of data creates a more balanced view of the opportunities and challenges facing our businesses, communities, and individuals as our region seeks to grow a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive economy.

The VEI will track economic performance in the 18-county region of Northeast Ohio, as well as 12 metropolitan areas that fall into one of three categories: Aspirational, Competitive, and Nearby. Aspirational markets are widely recognized as top markets in the United States. Competitive markets are those that the Northeast Ohio Region frequently competes with for business attraction and expansion. Nearby markets are markets in Ohio and neighboring states that are frequently used for comparative purposes.

With what regions do we compare our economic indicators data?

VEI Map

We can measure success in three ways.

Economic development network

The VEI is embraced and supported by the economic development network in Northeast Ohio as an effective means of evaluating our economy.  

Support policies & drive investments

The VEI is leveraged to support policies and drive investments that positively impact economic and social outcomes in Northeast Ohio.

Equitable outcomes

The various data points in the VEI move in the right direction over time, creating a vibrant economy with equitable outcomes.

The VEI serves three primary purposes.

Measure

The VEI will provide a more comprehensive measurement of our economic performance as a region and how competitive we are with a set of key metro areas across the United States.

Regional Advocacy

The VEI will strengthen regional advocacy efforts that inform policies and invest- ment decisions to improve outcomes as a regional economy and for individual participants in our economy, across all races and genders.

Promote

The VEI is a tool to promote the work that Team NEO, in collaboration with its partners, is doing to drive equitable economic growth throughout the region.

Get updates

Get access to the VEI data and receive ongoing updates.

Corporate Investors – Visionary Partners & Above

Economic Development Partner Investors

Philanthropic Investors

Talent Partners

The Vibrant Economy Index a measure of Northeast Ohio Region’s economy, and 12 comparable markets, in six key categories: Talented, Equitable, Innovative, Resilient, Competitive, and Prosperous

Copyright © 2022 Team Northeast Ohio. All Rights Reserved.
VEI Pie

Talented

What does it mean to have a talented, vibrant economy?

A vibrant economy has a growing, diverse population with equitable opportunities for education, training, and prospects for filling good-paying, in-demand jobs in our region. These opportunities for individuals in turn support business growth and vibrancy in our communities.

What does it mean to have a talented, vibrant economy?

Talent is becoming the critical differentiator of regions that are growing and prospering. One of the most powerful ways to positively impact the overall economy is to increase the pool of educated, trained, and talented workers in your region. Growing the population with a bachelor’s degree leads to significantly higher rates of growth in GDP, wages, and employment.

KEY TAKEAWAY

The Northeast Ohio Region must continue to strengthen education and training opportunities to support industries with in-demand jobs and create more opportunities for everyone in our workforce to access those in-demand jobs, as well as have access to quality post-secondary opportunities to develop skills through meaningful credentialing.

Key Data Points

3 OUT OF 13

NEO ranks 3rd out of 13 markets for population with an associate’s degree.

Talented Data Set

  • Completions to Job Postings
  • Manufacturing Completions to Job Postings
  • Health Care Completions to Job Postings
  • Percent of Population 25–34 Years Old
  • Population with BA+
  • Population with Associate’s Degree
  • Population with Some College
  • Population with High School Diploma
  • Population with Less than a High School Diploma
VEI Pie

Equitable

What does it mean to have an equitable, vibrant economy?

A vibrant economy reduces disparities in educational attainment, access to in-demand jobs, and economic outcomes for all. An equitable, vibrant economy strengthens communities, encourages innovation, increases resiliency, and is more competitive because of increased diversity in the workforce.

How important is equity to a vibrant economy?

Talent is becoming the critical differentiator of regions that are growing and prospering. One of the most powerful ways to positively impact the overall economy is to increase the pool of educated, trained, and talented workers in your region. Growing the population with a bachelor’s degree leads to significantly higher rates of growth in GDP, wages, and employment.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Taken together, strategies that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion, whether through communities of color or gender, are key to future regional growth. We can only grow our economy through equity. We cannot expect to grow in any substantial way when more than 20% of the region’s population faces a disproportionate share of the economic challenges.

Key Data Points

2 OUT OF 13

NEO ranks 2nd out of 13 markets for women in high demand IT jobs, 13th for Hispanic residents in IT and 7th for Blacks residents in manufacturing.

Equitable Data Set

  • Adjusted Median Household Income by Race
  • Unemployment Rate by Race
  • Educational Attainment by Race
  • Educational Attainment by Gender
  • Health Care In-Demand Jobs by Race
  • IT In-Demand Jobs by Race
  • Manufacturing In-Demand Jobs by Race
  • In-Demand Jobs by Gender
  • Population with a Broadband Internet Subscription by Race
VEI Pie

Innovative

WHAT is an innovative, vibrant economy?

An innovative, vibrant economy has businesses with a high adoption rate of new technologies and an environment that encourages start-ups. And it’s where small businesses, minority-owned businesses, and female-owned businesses have access to capital and are thriving.

WHY is innovation important for a vibrant economy?

Innovation can be a powerful economic driver if we understand our regional economic vitality and the nature of our existing assets, and if we make strategic investments in those assets, such as manufacturing technology, over time. Strategic investments in areas like the smart and additive manufacturing are critically important to making our market more competitive and more attractive as a destination for business expansion and retention.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

It will be important to measure progress in innovation against ourselves over time based on the investments that we choose to make as a region, and the ways those investments translate into regional economic outcomes. Our ability to innovate is highly interdependent on the other pillars, like talent and equity, to drive it forward.

Key Data Points

$140,450,000

NEO saw $140,450,000 in venture capital investment in 2019.

Innovative Data Set

  • Loans to Businesses Under $1M Revenue
  • Patents per 1,000 Workers
  • Annual Amount of Venture Capital Investment
  • Number of Venture Capital Deals
  • Research & Development Employees as Percentage of Total Employment
VEI Pie

Resilient

WHAT does it mean to have a resilient, vibrant economy?

A vibrant economy is forward-looking, helps address the core needs of businesses as they grow and innovate; and helps companies to understand why a market is a good, predictable, and safe place for long-term investment.

WHY is resilience important to a vibrant economy?

Resiliency helps us think about our competitiveness relative to the infrastructure investments we make over time. It has a direct impact on our ability to cultivate a talented and equitable workforce and helps companies think differently about the future. And it helps people and companies withstand economic downturns.

KEY TAKEAWAY

Investing in resilient infrastructure, fostering strong relationships between businesses and the economic development network, and having tools and programs in place to help people and companies withstand economic downturns is key to long-term economic progress for the region.

Key Data Points

3.7%

NEO’s industrial vacancy rate in 2020 was 3.7%.

Resilient Data Set

  • Number of Declared Natural Disasters
  • Industrial Vacancy Rates
  • Number of Days with Air Quality Index over 100
  • Ratio of Alternative Fuel Stations to Population
  • Population with Access to Insurance
  • Number of Direct Flight Destinations
  • Public Transit Affordability
VEI Pie

Competitive​

WHAT does it mean to have a competitive, vibrant economy?

A vibrant economy outperforms comparable regions and markets in gross domestic product, total employment, per capita income, and labor force participation. It also has a talented and diverse workforce, earning family-sustaining wages and capable of filling in-demand jobs.

WHY is it important to have a competitive, vibrant economy?

Through the lens of the VEI, a competitive, vibrant economy will demonstrate economic progress as a whole and for individuals—making it an attractive destination for business expansion and retention, and talent seeking to advance their careers.

KEY TAKEAWAY

These output measures rely on improvement in many of the other enabling pillars of the VEI to see meaningful progress. We anticipate that growth and improvements in the talented, equitable, innovative, and resilient pillars will create a vibrant economy—for all Northeast Ohio residents.

Key Data Points

+3% GRP

+1% EMPLOYMENT

From 2018–2019, NEO’s GRP grew 3%, employment grew 1%, and labor force participation remained unchanged.

Competitive Data Set

  • Gross Regional Product
  • Total Employment
  • Per Capita Income
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Labor Force
  • Participation Rate
  • VEI Pie

    Prosperous

    WHAT does it mean to have a prosperous, vibrant economy?

    A vibrant economy creates equitable opportunities for more people to work, earn good wages and thrive. It also offers an environment that supports business startups and growth.

    WHY is the VEI focused on prosperity?

    Measuring prosperity adds a nuanced look at the impact of economic policy, strategy and investment on individuals and communities, in addition to the traditional measures of broad economic growth. We can better understand the impact economic development has on people—and if we’re reducing disparities—by measuring prosperity.

    KEY TAKEAWAY

    The Northeast Ohio Region must continue efforts to increase access to educational and career opportunities to all residents in the region in a way that increases equitable economic growth and prosperity, which will be a significant driver of future growth potential.

    Key Data Points

    $60,729

    In 2019, NEO’s regional median house-hold income adjusted for cost of living was $60,729.

    Prosperous Data Set

    • Percent Change in Payrolled Business Locations
    • New Establishments as a Percentage of
      Total Establishments
    • Percent of Jobs Paying a Family-Sustaining Wage
    • Median Household Income Adjusted for Cost
      of Living
    • Median Home Value Adjusted for Cost of Living
    • Small Business Tax State Ranking
    • Cost of Living
    • Poverty Rate

    Get Updates

    Get access to the VEI data and receive ongoing updates.