The previous section lists evaluation indicators that can be used to gauge the outputs and impacts that can help assess the effectiveness of each project. However, each of those measures are simply “intermediate outcomes” as they are outputs, and/or part of gauging a means to an end. The ultimate impacts of this entire strategy will, in the end, need to be measured for the impact it has on the investment leveraged, jobs created, taxes paid, median income, drops in the percentage of those living in poverty and improvement of the overall economy.

Thus, in this section we will offer suggestions of other performance measures that may be used to assess the overall performance of the CEDS strategy. The key, however, is to use patience in developing performance measurement metrics. It is important to use a timed approach to performance measurement if one is to find ways to truly assess the impact of programs.

There are three levels of measurement: outputs, intermediate outcomes and end result outcomes. The measures suggested for each individual project provide outputs and some intermediate measures, which will indicate preliminary results towards achieving the ultimate ends.

For longer term results program managers need to focus on the end results, the economic development impacts. Those ultimate outcomes for the Northern Neck strategy should include:

Population Growth – growth in population, but especially growth in the proportion of workers, aged 18 to 55. This should also be reflected in lowering the median age of the population.


Poverty Levels and Other Economic Indicators – steadying, and preferably lowering the poverty levels in the four counties. In addition, local officials should closely monitor commercial tax revenues, the number of new jobs created, median incomes and median home and property values. Visits by travelers and tourists, and their local expenditures should also be tracked.


The number of businesses – number of businesses locating or expanding in the Northern Neck, as well as the birthrate of new local businesses will be important indicators of strategy effectiveness. 


In short, rising economic activity should positively impact the economic indicators tracked by state employment commissions, state tax offices, as well as the Census Bureau, and the County Business Patterns, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and state Tourism agencies.

Suggested path: look for outputs and intermediate results by the end of the year. Outputs are defined in the section on each project. Intermediate outcomes can include rising hits on local websites, new investment prospects, rising numbers of visitors and hotel occupancy rates. Workers signing up for skills training programs and business hires should begin to rise.