I’ve said before that I don’t think Chicago is well positioned to become some type of dominant tech hub, but should only seek to get its “fair share” of tech. However, as the third largest city in America, Chicago’s fair share on tech is still pretty darn big. If you look at what’s been happening in the city the last couple of years, I think you’d have to have to say it’s something real. Built in Chicago lists 1145 companies in its inventory, and that’s definitely something. read more »
The preferred story for California's economy runs like this:
In the beginning there was prosperity. It started with gold. Then, agriculture thrived in California's climate. Movies and entertainment came along in the early 20th Century. In the 1930s there was migration from the Dust Bowl. California became an industrial powerhouse in World War II. Defense, aerospace, the world's best higher education system, theme parks, entertainment, and tech combined to drive California's post-war expansion. read more »
For over a decade, conventional wisdom has held that the future of the world economy rests on the rise of the so-called BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China (and, in some cases, with the addition of an ‘S’ for South Africa). read more »
EMSI recently developed a methodology for calculating expected wages for occupations by region. The analysis is aimed at helping us better understand what regional earnings should be given the performance of a set of standardized occupations that are ubiquitous, stable, and diverse across the US economy. It’s a bit like the consumer price index, just for occupations.
I recently moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where I live in the town of West Warwick. I’ve been learning the place more and soaking in New England culture (and seafood). This area has a Rust Belt type profile: declining population, post-industrial economic landscape, high unemployment, etc. So I’ve been trying to get a handle on conditions and think a bit about what the opportunities are. read more »
Sometimes the stakes are bogus, sometimes the fast lane hits a fork.
Sometimes southern California wants to be western New York
–Lyrics from Dar Williams’ song “Sometimes California Wants to Be Western New York”.
For long, making cultures and making people have been deemed outmoded. It is largely a knowledge economy. And since knowledge has been diverging into “spiky locales” known to be hotbeds of innovation, consider it a double whammy, as most of the relevant geographies are on the coast. The middle of the country is thus irrelevant if you care to survive. It is a man with a pitchfork in a sea of MacBook’s and iLife’s. read more »
Even if the best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey did draw more fans than the Olympics (both sports involve “play parties” and metallic neckwear), the nominal American summer game is baseball. But that celebration of agrarian mythology and fields of dreams has descended to the level of a cable infomercial: white noise blended with car sales promotions, insurance deals, and breakfast cereals. read more »
The most recent jobs report was again below consensus. With fewer than 100,000 new jobs, unemployment fell only because people continue to leave the labor force in huge numbers. People are discouraged, and many don't believe we are in a recovery. Why would they think that we aren't in a recovery? After all, GDP is above its pre-recession high, and we hear all the time about how many jobs have been created over the past couple of years. read more »
In the last few decades, as suburbanization and deindustrialization devastated so many cities, they turned to two sectors that seemed not only immune to decline, but were actually growing: universities and hospitals. The so-called “eds and meds” sectors, often related through university affiliated hospitals, became a great stabilizer for many places. read more »
I was living in Pennsylvania, voting in my second presidential election when my mom asked me that question in the months leading up to Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Jimmy Carter: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Four-year-ago comparisons are tricky when the worst financial collapse in my lifetime occurred four years ago. Comparing the swing states not to their conditions four years ago, but how they might feel compared to the rest of the nation, Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire appear to be “better off” than the average American. read more »