FROM THE APPALACHIAN REGIONAL COMMISSION
“Economic resilience [is] the capacity of a local economy—town, county, or region—to recover or bounce back from an ‘economic shock.’ Economic shocks can come in many forms, such as the Great Recession of 2008 or a major employer shutting its doors. Understanding what makes a community resilient to an economic shock is very important and can help communities in the transitioning Appalachian economy.”
This is the central theme in Strengthening Economic Resilience in Appalachia, a new study published [last] week by ARC identifying factors common across communities experiencing persistent economic growth despite economic disruptions. The report includes a statistical analysis of key factors common to economic resilience, as well as a guidebook featuring ten communities that have rebounded after experiencing significant economic shocks. Using 35 measures of demographics/mobility; economics/industry; and community/health, each of Appalachia’s 420 counties was given a “resilience score.” From there, researchers conducted further analysis and field interviews to identify commonalities across counties with higher resilience scores.
In the accompanying Guidebook for Practitioners, case studies from counties in the Region and across the country offer additional insight into how communities have rebounded from the Recession and other dramatic economic changes in mining, manufacturing, hospitality, education, transportation or similar industries. These findings can successfully inform economic development strategies across Appalachia.
“This research highlights what we see every day at ARC—examples of Appalachian communities exhibiting resilience despite significant economic disruptions,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Tim Thomas. “Communities which are thoughtfully investing in community infrastructure, capitalizing on cross-collaboration, and cultivating entrepreneurship are driving the Region’s economic future.”
The research was conducted by Downstream Strategies, Dialogue + Design and Associates, the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, and West Virginia University with funding provided via ARC’s POWER Initiative.