May 2017
The tight labor market has made availability of skilled labor a paramount concern for companies looking to expand or open a new facility, but data alone will not help a company identify the community that will best meet its workforce needs.

The following article was written by John Rees for Area Development.

Today, companies face one of the most competitive markets for labor in at least a decade. Twenty states have unemployment rates of 4 percent or less. Private employers have more than five million unfilled job openings, an increase of more than 600,000 positions during the past three years. Even companies without expansion plans are finding it increasingly difficult to secure workers. In January, a record three million Americans quit private-sector jobs, significantly offsetting the 5.3 million workers U.S. companies hired.

The tight labor market has forced companies to make labor availability a paramount consideration when expanding existing operations and locating new facilities. While the availability of skilled labor has always played a role in the site selection process, it has often taken a backseat to other concerns such as site availability and business costs. This was even truer during the recession. Securing sufficient labor often proved relatively easy when millions of Americans were out of work. With the labor market now reaching full employment, how can companies scouting expansion and relocation locations find an abundant and skilled workforce? What questions should they ask prospective communities? What data will help them make better-informed decisions? 


In addition to our usual travels this summer, we are heading to ACCE and SEDC's annual conferences. If you're attending either, find us and say hi!

First, Amy will be at ACCE's 2017 Annual Convention in Nashville at the on Tuesday, July 18th. She will moderate a paneldiscussion titled "Growth is a Good Problem to Have" about the pros and cons of rapid growth in communities.

Also, Amy will be speaking on the topic of talent alignment at SEDC's 2017 Annual Conference, August 20-22 at the The Westin in Charlotte.  See you there!


Earlier this month, we attended and sponsored NextGen Talks, a boutique conference dedicated to learning from the new generation of site selection leaders. We had a fantastic time connecting with and learning from other professionals in our field. If you missed it, be sure to attend NextGen Talks 2018. 


Multiple articles proved this month that our clients are some of the highest ranking metros in the county! We saw a total of 13 clients recognized among the best in the nation for economic health. Forbes' best small and medium sized cities for jobs in 2017 includes clients Provo, UT at #1 and   Charleston, SC at #4.  Charleston, SC was one of only four metros in the US to achieve inclusive economic growth according to the Brookings Institution, meaning all segments of society share in the benefits of economic growth. WalletHub's best large cities to start a business included Oklahoma City, OK , Charlotte, NC , Tulsa, OK , and Amarillo, TX . Cities were evaluated on the quality of their business environment, access to resources, and business costs. Forbes' 7 cities you didn't expect to be great for business included Provo, UT , due to its nearby university, civic support, and generous investment community, and Des Moines, IA , because the region is doing such a great  job  attracting and supporting businesses. And our final list, Forbes' best cities for young professionals, included  Columbus, OH, Jacksonville, FL, Fort Worth, TX, Tampa, FL, Atlanta, GA, and Charleston, SC.  Cheers to all! 

We're also applauding major locations in several of our client communities.  Last  week, Switch announced that it will will be investing $2.5 billion in a new data center in  Douglas County GA And, Wholesome Harvest, a baking company, is investing $22 million into its Roanoke VA  operations, and which includes retraining its 324 employees to operate the new equipment. 

Finally, Paducah KY has created a series of beautifully produced videos celebrating the community. Click on the link below to view the video showcasing the hardworking people of Paducah's river industry.   

If you have positive news about your community you'd like to share with us, email


Here are a few snapshots of Avalanche in action:  

May was an  exciting   month  for Avalanche because we were able to participate in national economic development conversations right in our own hometown, Austin. Amy kicked   o ff the month by presenting at the ATX Aging & Innovation Summit hosted by AustinUP and the Dell Medical School. Next, we attend ed the first ever NextGen Talks, where Amy gave a presentation on community leadership and Tony DeLisi participated in a panel discussion about fast growing cities. We finishe d off the month with a trip to Georgetown, TX  where we conducted focus groups with citizens about workforce  availability. 

For  more photos of Avalanche in Action, follow us on Instagram .


Avalanche Consulting  is the nation's premier economic development strategist. We are the best in the business at translating complex information into strategies, marketing messages, and motivation for action. We are deeply driven to make a positive impact and seek clients who are equally inspired to energize their economies. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Avalanche was established in 2005 and has assisted more than 150 communities across the US and abroad. 

Headlight is Avalanche's award-winning online data system that enab les economic and workforce development organizations to produce data-intensive websites on their region's economy and workforce, allowing them to better serve prospects, site selectors, and their community. Data can be aggregated into one central website or  embedded into your organization's existing website.

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