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 Feature Industry Articles 
Monday, July 29 2019
Recent and Emerging Trends in Forestry and Lumber

By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President, Camoin Associates

To understand economies and industry sectors related to forestry and lumber it is important to first understand the significance of forests to the U.S. economy. Forests after all are where wood comes from. “Global forestry issues are of considerable significance to the United States, which has five percent of the Earth’s population and consumes an estimated 28 percent of the Earth’s industrial wood products. Although domestic timber inventory is only 10 percent of the Earth’s total, 96 percent of U.S. consumption of industrial wood comes from domestic supplies.1” In the U.S., the majority of the forests are privately owned with an estimated 58 percent of forest acreage owned privately by corporations or individuals; however, ownership patterns are quite diverse with public forests dominant in the West and private forests dominant in the East. Private industrial forest ownership is concentrated in the South, Pacific, Northwest, upper Lake States, and northern New England2.

Source:  U.S. Forest Service-

Posted by: AT 02:22 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 30 2017
Digital Tech Trends and the Future of the Health Care Industry 

By Jim Damicis, Senior Vice President Camoin Associates, Alexandra Tranmer, Project Manager Camoin Associates, and Bethany Meys, Analyst Camoin Associates


Every single industry sector, and the U.S. economy as whole, is being transformed at a rapid pace by digital technologies. We can describe the next phase of each sector as simply, the “tech of everything.” The financial industry is progressing with the advancement of FinTech, in addition to agricultural-technology and manufacturing-technology, also known as “Industry 4.0.” Health care is no exception, as the field of health tech expands throughout the country.  

Have you ever thought of your phone as a medical device? What about that activity tracker that keeps beeping at you to get up from your desk and take a flight of stairs? Innovations in the field of health technology aim to use the codes, data and graphics that allow us to communicate across continents to better understand and predict vital health indicators. One of the primary functions of health technology is to harness the data available to many of us through objects that we already have, like phones, smart watches and even medical devices like pacemakers, to allow us to theoretically make smarter choices about what we eat, suggest how and when we exercise, and alert individuals to their predisposition to chronic ailments based on algorithms. For the broader health system, health technology has the potential to substantially decrease costs for hospitals and other medical facilities by diverting emergency room visits and inpatient admissions while improving patient outcomes. 

Posted by: AT 08:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017
 Emerging Trends in Back Office Competition

By Pete Mohan, Site Selection Consultant for Wadley Donovan Gutshaw Consulting

Since 2014, back office employment growth has been modest at best. In light of the performance of the economy over that period, the concerns over that stagnation are justified, and multiple factors are to blame. For this article, “back office” is defined to encompass all administrative functions that don’t require a specialized four-year degree, including customer service, financial clerking, data entry, etc. 

As back office operations have evolved, two tiers of center have emerged; companies have opted to increase complexity of tasks and level of responsibility in some centers, oftentimes requiring a bachelor’s degree; for centers not requiring that level of education, finding cost-effective locations to train-up entry and experienced talent is the priority. Due to this bifurcation of back office labor needs, both high- and low-level operations face unique challenges, and each have opportunities for growth. Current State of Back Office Employment (see Table A) Back office employment in the U.S. has grown at less than half the rate of total employment since 2014 (2.8 percent vs. 5.9 percent). Back office employment in medium- and large-sized metros has grown more rapidly than smaller metros as well as the national rate. However, this trend seems to be driven primarily by general labor availability, as total employment growth still outpaces back office growth by at least 50 percent in each of the different metro area size groupings. Additionally, in the 160 metros with employment growing faster than the U.S. rate, back office employment has increased by 8.7 percent, whereas metros growing slower than 5.9 percent have lost 2.4 percent of back office employment over the past three years. 

Posted by: AT 10:12 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017
Looking Beyond the Site for Food and Beverage Expansion: How to Assess the Surrounding Community and Region

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Susan Riffle, Manager of Communications, the Austin Company

The food and beverage industry is enjoying a healthy growth spurt; the food products sector is among the fastest-growing of U.S. manufacturing, adding 95,000 jobs so far in 2017, representing a seven percent increase over the past five years. The U.S. beverage sector is also growing substantially, adding 66,000 jobs so far in 2017, representing an impressive 39 percent growth over the past five years.1

Along with such growth comes the need for expansion by manufacturers. With that expansion comes new facilities located in new communities and the generation of incremental jobs for those communities. Undoubtedly, the food and beverage industry holds a great deal of promise for regions and municipalities lucky enough to attract them. The competition is fierce, especially since the industry has rigorous criteria when defining site suitability. Site and property criteria determined to be important for the food and beverage sector was explored by Austin Consulting and published in the September/October 2017 edition of Expansion Solutions ( 

Posted by: AT 09:42 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, November 29 2017
Building a Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Growth Strategy

By Amanda Taylor, Senior Consultant and Director of Research, and Kyle Neu, Consultant, McCallum Sweeney Consulting

There is renewed emphasis on manufacturing as the U.S. hinges its economic future on restoring robust and sustained economic growth. Economic developers at the local, regional, and state level know that impactful growth will come from the manufacturing industries engaged in innovative and technology-driven production, universally known as advanced manufacturing. An advanced manufacturing growth strategy is especially important for regions with tight labor markets since high-tech manufacturing operations generally require few workers while generating significant output. To build a sustainable advanced manufacturing growth strategy, regions can look to the metros with the largest advanced manufacturing gross domestic products (GDP), Houston and San Jose, and they will find that the most important elements of an advanced manufacturing strategy are continual innovation and diversification. 

According to the Brookings Institute, there are 35 manufacturing industries that constitute the advanced manufacturing sector. These 35 industries, combined with 15 services and energy generation industries, make up the advanced industries sector, which Brooking’s refers to as the nation’s “linchpin industries”. These are the high-tech industries leading U.S. economic growth and tackling objectives of national and global importance.

Regional economic activity in advanced manufacturing is measured by evaluating the GDP, or value of goods, originating from industries located within a metropolitan area. Nationwide, the advanced manufacturing economy accounted for approximately $1.37 trillion in GDP in 2016, about 7.5 percent of total U.S. GDP, and most of this activity took place in metropolitan areas.  

Posted by: AT 08:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, May 30 2017
Measuring Success - Assessing Ports Expansion 'Wins'

By Kurt Nagle, AAPA President and CEO

Success in meeting an organization’s improvement and expansion goals can be interpreted in many ways. The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) – the collective and recognized voice of ports throughout the Western Hemisphere – recently asked its member ports to answer the dual questions, “What is the biggest success of your port since the recession?” and “What obstacles did your port overcome to achieve this success?”  

The answers we received from a cross-section of AAPA’s member ports reinforce an industry saying, “If you’ve seen one port, you’ve only seen one port.” No two answers were quite the same, reflecting each port’s unique goals, objectives and obstacles. However, one theme was recurrent…even the toughest challenges are no match for persistence and dedication toward a favorable outcome.

Posted by: AT 03:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 22 2016
Setting the Table for Successful Food Manufacturing Plant Location: Logistics are Key

By Frank Spano, Managing Director and Susan Riffle, Manager of Communications, The Austin Company

Economic change affects all industries, but some are more recession-resistant than others. The food industry is a good example of that. Consumer habits may change due to the economy: restaurants are more popular during times of prosperity, home cooking is more appropriate when times are lean. In either case, the food industry is fueled by consistent consumer demand, although the nature of that demand is, more than ever, constantly in flux.

During May of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics placed employment in the food processing sector at slightly under 1.5-million workers. Annual payroll during this period was approximately $57.5-billion dollars.

If these figures aren’t enough testament to the sector’s overall health, the industry itself proves to be very optimistic. According to the 2016 annual U.S. Food & Beverage Industry Study, released in June by WeiserMazars LLP, most food and beverage companies anticipate a significant increase in sales this year. Survey participants — drawn from over 200 companies across the food and beverage industry — are confident that sales will increase 14 percent compared to 2015, and project net profits will rise by 10 percent.1  That optimism has proven not unfounded: the latest industry figures from CSI Market cited net income in the food processing industry in the second quarter of 2016 as having improved by 53.95 percent over 2015, with quarter-over-quarter net income growth well above the manufacturing industry average.2

Posted by: AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 15 2016
Understanding the Value of Foreign Trade Zones

By Tommy L. Berry, Chief Business Officer of PointTrade Services, Inc.

As one begins to understand the impact of sea ports and inland ports and their role in attracting and maintaining value-added services to their respective communities, it is advantageous to understand what a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) is. An FTZ is a secure and defined location that acts as an extension of a U.S. Port of Entry. Established in 1934, the United States FTZ Program was developed to promote economic development through international trade. FTZs have been established in all fifty states and Puerto Rico. FTZs may allow for delayed and/or reduced duty payments on imported merchandise. Duty deferral, reduced Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF), duty elimination on scrap and exports, reduction or elimination of a drawback process, supply chain efficiencies, inverted tariff savings and increased compliance are some of the benefits offered through a zone. Some areas in the country also offer additional benefits such as a tax break on inventory.

Based on the most recent data available in the Annual Report of the Foreign Trade Zones Board to the Congress of the United States, there were 179 FTZs that were active during 2014 accounting for approximately $798 billion in merchandise received, with approximately $99 billion in direct exports. These zones were utilized by around 2,700 firms employing approximately 420,000 persons. 

Posted by: AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 15 2016
Gaming, and Filming, and Apps - Oh My!

By Tim Shea, General Manager of Product Development, and Angelos Angelou, CEO, Angelou Economics, 512-658-8400,

This past July brought the closest thing to the “Zombie Apocalypse” any of us will (hopefully) see in our lifetimes. In an almost inexplicable display, thousands of men, women, and children spent the summer’s hottest month wandering streets and parks across the globe, eyes glazed over with a single minded purpose. Fortunately, that purpose was relatively benign: to find and catch Pokémon. 

The craze was brought about by the release of Pokémon Go, a unique, if not entirely, novel app that blended the real world with Nintendo’s popular gaming franchise in the greatest manifestation of augmented reality to date. The app’s launch was a wild success—it attracted millions of users and doubled the company’s stock practically overnight—but it hasn’t come entirely without controversy. 

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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