Emsi Case Study (See Full Archive)
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency of Planning (CMAP) is the metropolitan planning organization for seven northeastern counties in Illinois. In 2010, local leaders unanimously adopted GO TO 2040, the region’s first truly comprehensive plan since 1909. Human Capital was one of GO TO 2040’s four core areas of focus, and since the plan’s adoption CMAP has embarked on several projects to better understand the region’s workforce. Through ongoing research, powerful graphics, and a cool economic indicators microsite that highlights Emsi data, CMAP is doing strong work in the Chicago metro.
Earlier we wrote an article covering CMAP’s search on the link between manufacturing and freight in metropolitan Chicago. In this article, we’d like to follow up by examining CMAP’s recent drill-down report on the O’Hare subregion specifically.
The Freight-Manufacturing Nexus in the O’Hare Area
Manufacturing and freight are joined at the hip—or would be if they could. The two industries rely on each other, the one for means to transport its goods from region to region, the other for goods to deliver, in a complicated, inter-weaving process that trips along much more smoothly when the two industries are actually located close to each other.
In Chicago, this just so happens to be the case. As CMAP’s recent report on the freight-manufacturing nexus in the O’Hare Airport subregion shows, the co-location of freight and manufacturing is a rare, powerful setup that has helped transform the sprawling metro into the lively hub it is today, and that continues to give Chicago a competitive edge. “We found that manufacturers like to be located close to logistics companies, freight service providers, and major freight nodes” says Brian Peterson, policy analyst at CMAP. “One of the largest competitive advantages for Chicago’s manufacturing cluster is that we do have such great freight access here.”
The O’Hare report, whose wide audience ranges from elected officials to economic developers to the average Joe, took advantage of the flexibility and customization of Emsi’s geographies. “We can string together a bunch of zip codes and make a customized geography that fits exactly what we’re looking at,” notes Peterson, who especially appreciates Emsi’s easy interface and one-stop approach to data.
Focusing on a number of elements within Emsi’s comprehensive labor market data—employment trends, concentration, workforce information—the O’Hare report discussed which jobs are growing (or have grown) within the freight and manufacturing clusters.
Economic Research Gives Easy Access to Data
CMAP plans to direct its attentions to the subregion adjacent to Chicago’s Midway Airport in a future report. The organization also has plans to examine select manufacturing supply chains in metropolitan Chicago. “The big thing we’ll be looking at is the manufacturing supply chain,” says Peterson, explaining that CMAP anticipates relying again on data from Emsi. “[How is] the manufacturing cluster…working to expand its supply chain and at the same time minimize cost but mitigate risk—and what does that mean for the region? Are there gaps in the Chicago metropolitan area manufacturing supply chain? What are they? What are some strategies we can employ from a region perspective that could help foster the growth of our manufacturing cluster?”
CMAP has also launched its own economic indicators microsite highlighting Emsi data. Here, visitors can explore the data and even download it for themselves. Peterson says that this—not simply providing regional analysis but also making their data accessible to the public—has been a big deal at CMAP. “We are tracking about 16 different economic indicators for the region,” he says, “in some cases comparing Chicago to other metropolitan areas. Users can download the data, which we think is something of value that CMAP has: both providing data and providing comparison to other metropolitan areas.”
Examples of downloadable data that features Emsi include the following graphic illustrating job openings and program completions in three mid-skill career fields (mechanic & repair technologies; precision production; and transportation & material moving):
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is the official regional planning organization for the northeastern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. CMAP developed and now guides implementation of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan. To address anticipated population growth of more than 2 million new residents, GO TO 2040 establishes coordinated strategies that help the region’s 284 communities address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues. For more information, visit http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/.
Emsi turns labor market data into useful information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work. Using sound economic principles and good data, we build user-friendly services that help educational institutions, workforce planners, and regional developers (such as WIBs, EDOs, chambers, utilities) build a better workforce and improve the economic conditions in their regions. For more information, email Josh Wright (email@example.com) or visit www.economicmodeling.com.