Minneapolis StarTribune / Lee W. Munnich Jr. - Sometimes you have to view something from a distance to see the big picture more clearly. A new mapping tool that spotlights clusters of industry activity is revealing a fascinating picture of a dynamic Midwestern region with a diverse and vibrant array of manufacturing clusters fueling a regional economic rebound. The tool, U.S. Cluster Mapping (www.clustermapping.us), plots data about types of industries on a map, revealing where “clusters” of various traded industries are prevalent. It was developed, with U.S. Economic Development Administration funding, by the Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness led by Prof. Michael Porter, in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School and others.
Using this mapping tool, we can see the top 10 “traded industry clusters” in the Midwest region — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin — based on employment specialization and share. Traded industry clusters serve markets in other regions or nations and are very important in fueling local economies.