Fund releases “What Matters to Metros” Report

Economic research plays an essential role in guiding the work of the Fund Fund for Our Economic Future, and helps them identify what matters and other key priorities in their work to advance a growing, opportunity-rich economy for the people of Northeast Ohio.  

What Matters to Metros™: Foundational Indicators for Economic Competitiveness helps community leaders identify factors that are associated with economic growth in mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas in a post-recession economy.

Download the Fund’s report and its appendices.

This work builds upon six previous iterations (called the Dashboard of Economic Indicators) and assesses the relationship of 55 variables to economic growth across four measures: per capita income, gross metropolitan product (GMP), productivity and employment, between 1990 and 2011.

  • Together, higher education and innovation remain critical ingredients for prosperous, productive communities that generate higher incomes, but are not associated with overall job growth over the period.
  • Many metros that experienced high levels of employment growth did not necessarily see these jobs translate into higher incomes; in fact, inequality, poverty and crime tended to be more prevalent in those metro areas that saw the most job gains.
  • Entrepreneurship and local business development, particularly in metro areas with more diverse and/or integrated populations, is associated with every measure of growth: jobs, income, productivity and GMP.

What Matters to Metros™ can serve civic leaders in metros throughout the United States, but the research bears specific implications for the four largest metropolitan areas in Northeast Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown. This research provides data that civic leaders and the Fund can use to ask more strategic questions about how “growth” can be pursued, and to identify their own distinct approaches to get there.

What Matters to Metros

A complete, sortable set of data used in What Matters to Metros™ is available for download. Please visit the Fund’s website for information on how to access the data.

What Matters to Metros™ is a comprehensive analysis of 115 mid-sized metropolitan areas between 1990 and 2011. Data, provided by, is available to help better understand your metro area and how it compares to others.

The Fund will be hosting community forums with partners in Northeast Ohio’s four metros in June 2013:

June 5, 9:30a-11:30a at the Stark Community Foundation (400 Market Ave N, Canton, OH 44702)
Partners:  Stark Community Foundation and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce

June 20, 8:30a-10:30a, D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center, Fellows Riverside Gardens at Mill Creek MetroParks (123 McKinley Avenue, Youngstown, OH  44509)
Partners:  The Raymond John Wean Foundation and the Trumbull 100

June 24, 10a-12n Quaker Square Inn (135 S Broadway St., Akron, OH 44325)
Partners:  Akron Community Foundation and the University of Akron

June 28, 8a-10a, location TBD
Partners:  Saint Luke’s Foundation and The Community Foundation of Lorain County

Contact Emily Garr to keep up to date with Fund research.

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