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The Job That Never Ends

Beating the local business community's drum is a lot harder than it used to be.

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This story appears in the June 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Imagine you're a juggler, and the number of balls you have to keep in play is doubled with every toss. That's what has been happening to many U.S. economic development agencies, says Kurt Chilcott, chairman of the International Economic Development Council.

Historically, economic development focused on bringing jobs into a region. But in the past 20 years, their roles have expanded to include working with existing businesses, helping create new firms and improving the assets that attract companies to a region, explains Chilcott. As if that weren't enough, the September 11 attacks and the recent recession have officials scrambling to buoy their economies. Increasingly, many say they're looking in their own backyards for business--but do their actions bear out that claim?

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