The Two Tomorrows


“Being average is a choice. So is being extraordinary.”


So begins The Two Tomorrows. The report is meant to be a starting point for a broader community discussion, a call for collective action toward an extraordinary tomorrow. In it, we provide a candid assessment of Northeast Ohio’s economy, recommend 10 priorities to advance the region, and suggest metrics to track inclusive economic growth.


The thread running throughout the report is an explicit acknowledgement that our economic systems (among others) are racially exclusive, and that this is holding back our region’s ability to be competitive and truly extraordinary. Many organizations and individuals in our community have been working on reducing racial disparities for decades. Valiant efforts continue to be undercut by long-standing, institutional practices. Combatting systemic racial exclusion requires more; it requires changing minds, policies, practices, and laws.


Since its release, The Two Tomorrows has been distributed to thousands of public officials and business, civic and nonprofit leaders, referenced in numerous news articles (including one that called it “required reading” for every civic leader and public official), and been discussed during dozens of presentations and community meetings and events.


There is a growing consensus in economic development circles that we must reduce and eliminate racial disparities in economic outcomes if we are to move our region forward. But there is still much hard work ahead.


For our part, we will continue to report out to the community how we’re doing on measures of Growth & Opportunity. The most recent figures tracking our performance on a set of eight key indicators is below (updated from the original publishing of The Two Tomorrows). Click on the links to see results for Northeast Ohio overall, as well as individual communities.


Northeast Ohio


Akron MSA


Canton MSA


Cleveland MSA


Youngstown MSA


Visit to download the full report.


Note: The 2019 scorecards reflect the Fund’s analysis using data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Moody’s Analytics, EMSI and the United Way. Due to availability of data, underlying data for the traded-sector GMP indicator shifted from Bureau of Economic Analysis in the 2018 scorecard to Moody’s Analytics. The source of the rising income indicator switched from Brookings Institution’s Prosperity Index to the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators. The source of the economic security analysis shifted from Brookings Institution’s Struggling Families analysis to the United Way’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) indicator. Figures for metrics 1-3 represent 5-year compound annual growth rates from 2012-2017; metric 4 reflects 2018 data; metric 5 reflects 2016 data; metrics 6-8 reflect 2017 data. Target for metrics 1-3 is based on peer MSA performance during same time period. Peer regions are Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Target for metrics 4-8 is based on reaching a target goal for the metric, independent of peer metro performance. In the progress from prior period column, green denotes improvement in both trend and gap; yellow denotes modest improvement; and red denotes no change or worse performance.