16 Nov 2018
Determining industry clusters in a regional economy has been an important tool of regional planners and policymakers for decades. Regional industry clusters show communities the nuance of their economies, identify trends, and may suggest how communities can adapt to them. In particular, the Blakely and Green-Leigh quadrant method clusters industry sectors by how well they withstand economic fluctuation. This method is unique in that it offers a matrix of sustainability, categorizing regional industries by their response to economic change over time.
With this method regional industries are grouped into four quadrants - transforming, growing, emerging, and declining - based on both the current local concentration of employment and employment change from 2011-2016. The combined analysis of these two factors produces a unique look at industry clusters, rather than those produced by employment concentration alone. For example, despite a low concentration of jobs in Northwest Minnesota, Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing has had significant, locally-driven employment gains since 2011, landing it in the ‘emerging’ quadrant cluster. Such analysis of economic change may provide insight into which industries are thriving and why in Northwest Minnesota.