The Council for Community and Economic Research

Weekly Update

The C2ER Weekly Update is an informational "one-stop" for economic development and labor market researchers. The Weekly Update is delivered to C2ER members every Thursday via email and includes information on:

  • Upcoming C2ER / LMI Institute training events and webinars
  • Important research highlights from the past week's news
  • C2ER technical assistance publications
  • Federal testimony and calls for comment on economic development- and workforce-related issues

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Archives of the Weekly Update are available to members in the C2ER Member Area.

The Latest Update: Thursday, February 13, 2020

2020 - Winter Edition

In This Issue:

  • Invitation from the Chair to the 60th C2ER Annual Conference
  • Question of the Quarter?
  • The Price of Breakfast - Bananas and Coffee: Cost of Living Index Update


You're Invited

Happy New Year fellow researchers!

I hope that 2020 is off to an excellent start for you and your organization. In these cold months, I look forward to our upcoming 60th Annual Conference in June.

It is my pleasure to invite you to join us in Columbus, OH as we prepare for what will hopefully be the Roaring 2020’s. This year’s Conference theme focuses on how we can mobilize our local economies and talent into the next decade. The agenda is packed with informative and innovative sessions including breakouts on inclusive talent strategies, career pathways and talent pipelines, diversifying business growth and retention, preparing your economy for AI and how to implement it in your own research projects, just to name a few.

Trainings on Monday and Tuesday offer the chance to learn from experts and peers including the Leadership in Research Workshop, a venue for novice and experienced managers to learn through interactive peer discussions and exercises, and the Marketing Essentials to Maximize the Impact of Your Research workshop to help communicate your research story.

Based on your feedback as the most demanded training topic, we are excited to offer a new two-day data science training, R Programming for Beginners. This course is open to everyone to learn how to use this great open source tool to work with large datasets and conduct modeling.


This year we are introducing a new track alongside the traditional breakouts which is referred to as a “Technical Workshop.” This is a unique opportunity to sharpen your data skills and use datasets alongside our peers through guided, step-by-step exercises. I encourage you to take a look at the full agenda – I know there will be hard decisions to make about which sessions to choose!

The C2ER Annual Conference is one of the professional highlights of my year as it is the premier event to meet with and learn from fellow economic development researchers. 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of the conference – I hope you are able to join us for this banner year!

See you in June.

Alan Spell, C2ER, Chair, 2019 – 2020


Don't Forget!

Attending and C2ER training classes or the conference earns you points to apply toward your Certified Economic Research Professional (CERP) status.

Track your progress! Complete the certification checklist to see how many required points and core topics may have been met. You can access to the certification checklist here.



Member Question of the Quarter

Each quarter we like to connect with our members through a short poll. If you are not a C2ER member and would like to find out more about these products or join let us know. You can find full membership benefits here.


Last quarter we asked, "How much did your organization spend on data purchases in the past year?" - Here are the results!



The Price of Breakfast - Bananas and Coffee

Photo by Precision Coffee Roasters

Compare your city’s cost of living – the 2019 Annual Average Index is now available.

For the 12th year, the annual average publication looks at the cost of living for the first three quarters of the year. To compare how prices have changed over the last 10 years, we took a look at how our COLI manager’s favorite breakfast items – coffee and bananas – have changed in price since 2009.

The US average per pound price of bananas has decreased by 10% or -$0.06, whereas a can of coffee has increased 14% - $0.53. In our home base of Washington DC (since Arlington, Alexandria, and DC were collected together in 2009), banana prices remain essentially unchanged decreasing $0.01 from 2009 to 2019 and an eleven ounce can of coffee increased from $4.14 to $4.90. DC’s rank on the index has changed from 12th most expensive to now the fifth most expensive city relative to other places that contributed data in each publication.

The Cost of Living Index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), formerly ACCRA, has been collected by volunteer researchers across the US since 1968. Over that time, the basket of items has changed to keep up with items and packaging as available and that are commonly purchased by US consumers.

We are always encouraging more cities to contribute. If you are interested in partnering with us and receiving a free copy of the dataset each quarter, contact Jennie Allison for more information. The full 2019 Annual Average press release can be found here. Additional information and options to purchase the data can be found at

As a reminder, the Cost of Living Index Quarterly data is included with C2ER memberships and the current issue can be found in the member area.



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