Every year, the International Economic Development Council celebrates “Economic Development Week,” which they say gives economic development agency professionals “a platform to showcase to their community the contributions made to their local economy throughout the year.”

We agree that there’s a lot about economic development programs in America’s states and cities that needs to be showcased — but someone needs to be talking about the things that don’t make it into EDA press releases: The costs. The failures. The downsides. The tradeoffs. The uncertainties. The politics. The corruption.

These negative outcomes are just as much a part of economic development as the positives — if not more. With the price tags for these programs reaching unprecedented heights, Americans deserve an Economic Development Week discussion that includes them all. That’s what we’re here to do.

The CEA’s #EconDevWeek Campaigns:


Just how much does all of this accomplish, anyway? In 2023, we went to every state economic development agency to find out just how many jobs they claim to be responsible for, then added them all up to discover just how bad the return on taxpayers’ “job creation” investments really are:

State Economic Development Agencies’ Own Data Shows How Little They Matter


They say you learn more from your mistakes than your successes, so the CEA got educational by sharing cautionary tales of real-world “Economic Development Disasters.”


For the first time, the CEA joined in the Economic Development Week celebrations with “Economic Development Bingo (The Brutally Honest Version.)”