Economics

The Average Manufacturing Establishment Is Smaller Than You Think, and Getting Smaller

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The common image of American manufacturing, as Harold L. Sirkin wrote in Bloomberg Businessweek, is of huge plants with waves of assembly-line workers producing cars and refrigerators. But there’s a whole other world of niche manufacturers in the U.S., and these small firms are more typical — and should be more of a priority, Sirkin argued — than you might think.  read more »

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Can Public Banks Help Fix Local Finance?

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Are public banks the answer for the recession-induced decline in municipal revenue and other ills that plague our cities? It’s a solution being discussed in more than one American city.  

Mike Krauss, a founder of the Public Banking Institute and a chairmen of the Pennsylvania Pubic Bank Project, both non-profits that promote public banking, said this month an ad hoc committee made up of Philadelphia City Council members and civic groups started working on the adoption of language for a public bank in the city. He also said the measure is being adopted out of a need for “affordable and sustainable credit.” The PPBP is leading the effort for public banking in the city.  read more »

The 2013 Best Cities For Job Growth

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The 2013 edition of our list shows many things, but perhaps the most important is which cities have momentum in the job creation sweepstakes. Right now the biggest winners are the metro areas that are adding higher-wage jobs thanks to America’s two big boom sectors: technology and energy.  read more »

Bank Collapse in Cyprus: Which Way Now?

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Having run out of options to solve its bigger problems, European Union commissioners, in the spirit of famed bank robber Willy Sutton, have decided to go after depositors’ money on Cyprus for a simple reason: “That’s where the money is.” Will the current shake down of bank depositors on Cyprus save or sink the Euro? It stretches the imagination to fathom how putting bank depositors in play will comfort European Union bondholders or other EU banks.  read more »

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Enterprising States 2013: Getting Down to Small Business

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The following is an exerpt form a new report, Enterprising States, released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and written by Praxis Strategy Group and Joel Kotkin. Visit this site to download the full pdf version of the report, or check the interactive dashboard to see how your state ranks in economic performance and in the five policy areas studied in the report.

Nothing better expresses America’s aspirational ideal than the notion of small enterprise as the primary creator of jobs and innovation. Small businesses, defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees, have traditionally driven our economy, particularly after recessions. Yet today, in a manner not seen since the 1950s, the very relevance and vitality of our startup culture is under assault. For the country and the states, this is a matter of the utmost urgency.  read more »

The Triumph of Suburbia

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The “silver lining” in our five-years-and-running Great Recession, we’re told, is that Americans have finally taken heed of their betters and are finally rejecting the empty allure of suburban space and returning to the urban core.  read more »

Class Warfare for Republicans

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As a Truman-style Democrat left politically homeless, I am often asked about the future of the Republican Party. Some Republicans want to push racial buttons on issues like immigration, or try to stop their political slide on gay marriage, which will steepen as younger people replace older people in the voting booth. Others think pure market-oriented principles will, somehow, win the day.  read more »

Visions of the Rust Belt Future (Part 1)

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“Men often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing”--Aesop

There are interesting developments being played out in the Rust Belt. Some cities, like Detroit, seem to be embarking whole hog down the creative class path. Others, like Pittsburgh, have their own thing going on, a thing Economic Geographer Jim Russell has delineated as the “Rust Belt Chic” model of economic development, with no modest amount of success. How a given Rust Belt city reinvests will have a large say in its future.  read more »

Job Dispersion in Major US Metropolitan Areas: 1960-2010

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The continuing dispersion of employment in the nation's major metropolitan areas has received attention in two recent reports. The Brookings Institution has published research showing that employment dispersion continued between 2000 and 2010, finding job growth was greater outside a three mile radius from central business districts between 2000 and 2010 in 100 metropolitan areas Note 1).  read more »

The Sound and the Fury In Chicago

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The Second City syndrome is alive and well. An anti-Chicago essay masquerading as a book review in the New York Times provides the latest example of the truth of that.  Rachel Shteir, a former New Yorker now living in Chicago, notes the various ills in the Windy City that should come as a surprise to no one, least of all residents:  read more »