Cycles and Change in Economic Development

Economic development organizations have the power to weather changes in the Maryland economy.

During the 2019 MEDA Fall Conference, Dr. Memo Diriker spoke about cycles of economic growth and depression in his presentation “Assessing Your Community for Transformation.”

The word “transformation” has many positive connotations, but Diriker in his talk stressed that it is often a necessary reaction to economic changes that can pose challenges to a community. “We’re not going to be in these good time all the time,” he cautioned. “Economies are cyclical.” He reminded attendees that the job of an economic developer is critical to ensuring that communities are able grow and adapt during difficult economic times as well as prosperous ones.

“Enjoy these great times, but also be cognizant of what’s coming in the next two, five, ten, twenty-five years,” Diriker said, before detailing upcoming challenges facing the Maryland economy. With the rise of efficient communication technologies, globalization has become an economic force to be reckoned with. While it opens up tremendous areas of potential, it also poses new challenges that economic development organizations must learn to navigate in order to serve and support their communities.

Another economic challenge on the horizon comes from a demographic perspective. As birth rates decline and life expectancy rises in the West, the economy must adjust to the changes in the workforce and consumer bases resulting from this trend.

While these facts might seem to paint a grim picture of Maryland’s economic future, Diriker was quick to point out that attendees were “at the right place at the right time” to learn how to weather these changes and help their communities adjust to the changing economy. The conference programs, he emphasized, were an important step in learning how to revitalize and remediate struggling communities. “You’re going to hear about ways of doing what we do better,” he said, and concluded with congratulations to attendees for taking this important step in preparing for the future.

As the founder and director of the Business, Economic, and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at Salisbury University, Dr. Memo Diriker has extensive experience in economic trend forecasting. He was one of the many speakers who lent their expertise to the 2019 MEDA Fall Conference this October.

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