Chmura Welcomes Laura Leigh Savage

Chmura is pleased to welcome Laura Leigh Savage as Director of Operations and Economic Development Specialist. Laura Leigh has worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) since 2004 in project management and business development roles for business attraction as well as business retention and expansion. In January 2015, she was recognized as one of North America’s top 50 economic developers by Consultant Connect. Prior to working with the VEDP, Laura Leigh spent 20 years in banking and commercial real estate financing followed by experience in a marketing consultant firm.

Announcing JobsEQ 3.1

We are pleased to announce the release of JobsEQ 3.1! This is a very exciting release, bringing thorough and detailed labor data to our users’ fingertips. Here are the major components of today’s release:

Improving Unemployment Claims Data Masks Decade's High Variance between the States

Over the past several months the labor market has been sending out some mixed signals in terms of its relative strength. For instance, initial unemployment claims data—typically a reasonable signal of the overall labor market—has been trending downward and is not far off from a new 35-year low. Once adjusted for the size of the current population, the September figure of the seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average of 305,000 initial claims would “traditionally” be associated with a very strong labor market. In October the number of claims have edged upwards, but still remain fairly low.

Reflections on the 2013 Workforce Boardroom Conference

Chmura Economics & Analytics recently presented its second annual Workforce Boardroom Conference. The conference theme was Illuminate to Innovate, and it brought thought leaders from a variety of disciplines together to discuss smart solutions to some big challenges facing our regions, states, and nation.

The event kicked off with a presentation from Marge Connelly, who brought her unique insight and private sector perspective on customer-centered innovation from her career in financial services and higher education. Following are some other highlights from the event.

Federal Issues, Sequestration and Your Economy

Chmura has been researching defense spending, the sequestration, and their impacts on state and regional economies. The team has developed one of the most complete datasets on federal defense spending ever constructed, and Chris Chmura’s remarks were designed to identify, inform, and inspire defense-dependent communities to action. Data-Driven Decision Making

Jay Dougherty, partner at Mercer and co-founder of the Workforce Sciences Institute, shared his candid experience with companies making location decisions today. He emphasized the use of quantitative data analysis to optimize the location, labor, cost of doing business, and business climate of a corporate decision.

Chmura team member Dan Meges joined Bruce Stephen of Monster Government Solutions to talk about workforce planning and the use of Real-Time Labor Intelligence. Monster, which started the online job posting revolution, is now manipulating its massive database of candidates and openings to help create a clearer picture of labor supply and demand. This perspective is invaluable for communities and higher education working to better align their program offerings with market trends.

Chmura’s chief statistician, Greg Chmura, took the stage to share some interesting analysis on the connection between education, innovation, and job growth. His research built on findings of the Fund for Our Economic Future in northeastern Ohio. The research is surprising - innovation and job growth don’t necessarily go hand in hand.

Measuring What Matters – New Paradigms for Economic Development

One of the goals of the conference was to challenge traditional thinking about economic development and Ed Burghard of the Burghard Group’s talk on the American Dream Composite Index (ADCI) did not disappoint. Ed suggested the audience push away from traditional outcome measures such as job creation and capital investment and instead focus on the well-being and satisfaction of the populace.

Ed has partnered with Xavier University to advance the ADCI, which uses household survey data to measure the pulse of the American sentiment. It’s a holistic measure that includes five components, including economic, a well-being, societal, diversity, and environmental indexes.

Four Business Perspectives

The conference brought four unique and valuable business perspectives to the forefront. The first was from a return presentation by David B. Trebing, General Manager, State and Local Relations for Daimler. David shared the new reality for manufacturers operating in a competitive, dynamic, global marketplace. This reality includes the need to locate production facilities in growing and emerging markets, a push towards cost reduction and efficiency, and the need for a qualified workforce.

The second business topic was presented by Carlos Solari, VP at Wilkitech. Carlos’s remarks enlightened the group on emerging trends in the cyber security industry and what communities need to know to attract and retain businesses in that sector.

Jeff Harris with Xerox Services spoke on the relationship between innovation, people, and the environment, and what that means for business and communities today. His futuristic remarks about the shifting trends in the definitions of work and the workplace prompted healthy discussions over lunch about how economic developers will adapt.

The conference closed with some practical public relations strategies from Hope Katz Bibbs, founder and president of The Inkandescent Group, LLC. Hope has helped many entrepreneurs and early-stage companies transform their innovative ideas into growth, and she shared her ideas about what it takes to help a new enterprise launch successfully and get the attention it deserves.

What’s Next?

It was an exciting two days in Richmond and Chmura thanks the engaged attendees and speakers. Now, we’re busy planning for 2014. If you would like to learn more about the 2014 conference, contact Maggie Bishop at

2013 Workforce Boardroom Conference

We know it. Workforce planning and workforce training are topics being discussed in boardrooms all over the country. Whether you believe the skills gap is real or imagined, it’s a big challenge facing businesses of all sizes as well as communities and educators. It’s also the reason Chmura started a plan in 2012 to bring smart people together to talk about new and innovative ways to change the conversation.

On September 16th and 17th, Chmura is hosting its second annual Workforce Boardroom Conference in Richmond, VA, and the list of speakers is impressive. This year’s theme, Illuminate to Innovate!, focuses on how data (the bigger the better) can help improve the way we develop and manage talent forces across the country.

The schedule includes some important names from economic development, workforce development, business and industry, the site selection community, and education. These five perspectives promise to provide new insight and a true 360-degree view of the workforce imperative. The full schedule can be downloaded here, but here are a few highlights.

Monday kicks off with a few words from Dr. Christine Chmura, President and Chief Economistof Chmura Economics and Analytics. Chris will be discussing the impact of sequestration on industries and regions, including the impact on supply chains.

Just prior to lunch, Ed Burghard, CEO of the Burghard Group, LLC and former Executive Director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition will be sharing new research and perspective on new ways to measure community success. Ed is a place marketing and branding expert working to advance the field of economic development.

The lunch keynote speaker on Day One will be David Trebing, General Manager, Sales and Local Relations of Daimler. Daimler is a global automotive company with headquarters in Stuttgardt, Bade-Wuttemberg, Germany. In 2012, Daimler sold 2.2 million vehicles and employed a workforce of 275,000 people.

Day One also features two site selection experts who will share their perspectives on how communities are evaluated as potential locations with a particular focus on the evaluation process for regional labor pools.

September 17th kicks off with breakfast and two special presentations on how data can measure and drive innovation as well as how new and better tools can facilitate better decision making and planning in workforce development.

This is just a snapshot of the complete agenda of this not-to-miss event, and registration is now open. For more information and to register, visit the conference page of the Chmura website.