By all measures, Los Angeles County is large. It is the most populous county in the nation, with 10 million residents in a land area of over 4,000 square miles. It is home to a diverse and dynamic workforce of almost 4 million, producing a gross regional product estimated to be $544 billion—larger than Switzerland, Saudi Arabia or Taiwan.
As the second decade of the 21st Century unfolds, we face challenges in preparing an educated and skilled workforce that is able to compete in the global marketplace, in allocating sufficient resources to maintain or deliver critically-needed infrastructure projects under strained budgets, in fostering a climate of technological innovation and product development, and in pursuing sustainable growth in the face of economic realities.
To sharpen our knowledge and better focus and tailor our policy and economic development efforts, we look towards new research in how industries compete, succeed and prosper, and new methods that will allow comparison of our performance against that of other regions.
Professor Michael E. Porter’s enduring work on the competitiveness of businesses and more recently of
regions brings into focus how economic prosperity can be driven. Through ground-breaking work done at the
Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, and supported by the Economic
Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Professor Porter’s Cluster Mapping Project has defined industry clusters based on locational correlation of employment.