Chamber Pro, Will Your Community Go Into an Economic Development Death Spiral?.

Chamber Pro, Will Your Community Go Into an Economic Development Death Spiral?


Chamber professionals, you have a huge opportunity being handed to you. Will you seize it?

How to avoid the economic development death spiral for your chamber and communityThe opportunity deals with economic development in the age of the Baby Boomer exodus.

We are entering a period of profound change concerning economic development and community growth.

As you know, huge risks and huge opportunities often go together.

Your community won’t be immune to the effects. I use the world “won’t” here but I should be using “isn’t” because the change is upon us now.

Economic Development Death Spiral

Ignore this opportunity and your community could lurch into an Economic Development Death Spiral. That is just some of what our special guest on this issue of the Chamber Focus Show, episode 58, shared with us.

Mark Lautman, CEcD, is the author of When the Boomers Bail: A Community Economic Survival Guide. His book changed how I view economic development, especially as it relates to chambers. I am profoundly grateful to him for coming on the Show to discuss his book and the major shifts occurring in economic development.

There will be winners and losers in this new game, there is a new paradigm effecting econ. dev., and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of it.

Mark and our panel of chamber professionals discussed:

  • A workable definition of economic development. It means different things to different people and you need everyone on the same page if your are going to move forward.
  • Primary jobs versus service sector jobs. Which ones are more important?
  • The chambers role in the new reality that communities and job creators face.Huge opportunities here but also massive risks for those who get it wrong or fail to innovate.
  • How EDCs are facing strong headwinds that are limiting their success and how it is only going to get worse for them.
  • The inverted labor supply problem.
  • The zero sum labor supply market.
  • Attracting and retaining qualified workers is now a must, even over attracting employers.
  • How demographics are only a part of the overall issue.
  • How the mix of players in economic development must be expanded to include chambers, schools, job creators, government, and others.
  • How traditional roles of the EDC is going to shift to the chamber if your chamber sees and acts on the opportunity.
  • How EDC people view chambers and who they see as the cambers natural constituency.
  • How economic development is going to get 100X tougher once the inverted labor supply problems fully kick in.

We also talked about how all of this is a huge opportunity for the chamber of commerce industry. We are the story tellers of our communities. We are the marketers. We are the connectors and deal makers. By leveraging our resources, especially the membership, chambers can be the difference between a community that goes down the Death Spiral path or becomes a destination for talent that thrives for decades.

You don’t want your chamber sitting on the sidelines. 

Join the discussion in the Chamber Professionals group on Facebook.

Watch This Edition of the Chamber Focus Show Now!

Mark will be a speaker at the W.A.C.E. 2014 conference in L.A.

About Mark:


Mark Lautman is a founding member of the Community Economics Lab, a private not-for-profit think tank innovating new approaches to economic and workforce development.

His consulting business, Lautman Economic Architecture, LLC, works with community and organizations to plan and implement job creation and talent attraction programs. Recent consulting assignments include: Vermillion SD, Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs CO, UNM, Sandoval County and NM Legislative Jobs Council.

During his 30 year career, he designed and managed four economic development programs in New Mexico: Grants, Rio Rancho, Santa Teresa and Mesa del Sol.

Mark is a frequent national conference speaker and the author of “When the Boomers Bail”, a book describing the impact of changing on the economic development game – available in print and digital formats from

Mark is a 1971 graduate of The University of New Mexico in Economics, Architecture and Geography, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Mark and his wife reside in Albuquerque. They have three children through college; two Lobos and one Aggie. All live and work in New Mexico. They have four grandchildren.