Mark Muro

Brookings’ MetroMonitor has been, we hope, a steady witness over the past three years, tracking the downs and ups and back-down-agains of economic recession and recovery across the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas each quarter.   The story hasn’t often been one of breakthroughs but it has been revealing about the nature of the nation’s sluggish recovery and the extensive variation among the nation’s diverse metro areas.  Now, though, the Monitor has morphed. To celebrate its third anniversary, the Monitor has today shed the text-based format of its youth and reemerged as a fully overhau

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This week, the debate over the economy and environmental policy reached a new low. Rep. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform which he chairs, made Bureau of Labor Statistics officials go through a list of jobs and say whether or not they were counted as green in their “Green Goods and Services Survey” in order to ridicule it. In a comical exchange between Issa and BLS Commissioner John Galvin, Issa lists at least seven jobs that are both pedestrian and far from the sorts of cleantech jobs highlighted as dynamic jobs of the future.

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In a recent post in Slate magazine, Matt Yglesias bemoans the Obama administration’s renewed focus on reinvigorating America’s manufacturing sector as a “foolish obsession.”  “[I]t should be obvious,” he writes, “that the path forward for America is to focus on our strengths in information technology and media, and not compete with the Chinese for manufacturing supremacy.” Yet “the path forward for America” is not principally about competing with the Chinese.   It is about marshalling our significant assets and asserting our leadership position in making all kinds of products--whatever they ma

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For those who’ve been following the “green jobs” story the release late last week of the federal government’s first official green goods and services count was probably a little anticlimactic. Nearly two years in the making, the one-year “snapshot” of so-called “green jobs” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 3.1 million people, amounting to 2.4 percent of full-time workers, are employed in the production of goods and services that benefit the environment. Likewise, it found that the bulk of the jobs—2.3 million of the 3.1 million total—reside in the private sector, with more than 4

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Two years ago the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings released a major report entitled “Export Nation” that insisted, in the depths of the Great Recession, that exporting held great promise for generating needed sales and jobs in a rebalanced American economy.    Because doubling export growth in real terms hadn’t been seen by the United States since the early post-war period, a number of economists naturally expressed skepticism. Now, the data are coming in and the benefits of a U.S.

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At last a more serious discussion of manufacturing has begun. In just the last month, strong voices have by turns questioned whether manufacturing merits special attention, contended that it does, and then begun to say which sort of manufacturing matters most.

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Washington is paralyzed by politics and debt, but states and regions are moving to renew the drifting U.S. economy themselves.

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It was good to hear strong shout-outs for clean and renewable energy sourcing as part of the balanced energy stance promoted in President Obama’s State of the Union speech this week.   We’ve long agreed that the “all of the above” energy approach Obama championed last night could be desirable so long as it is just that--oriented to the balanced development of all sources including American renewable and clean energy as well as fossil fuel resources. In that nexus lies a politically defensible sweet-spot notwithstanding the tough politics of the energy debate. And yet, the President left out a

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Here at the Metro Program we have long advocated a “bottom-up” approach to economic development.  Such an approach calls for a major reorientation of federal-state-metro relationships--one that empowers metros and regions with real flexibility and resources so as to enable them to chart their own courses. And so we have often looked abroad for ideas as we have worked on concepts, such as Metropolitan Business Plans (coming soon: Metropolitan Export Plans) and our proposals for aiding and abetting the self-organized initiatives of innovation clusters. For example, we have closely followed devel

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