Mark Muro

We’ve been warning about the economic implications of the coming local government fiscal crisis for more than a year (see this paper and  event we did with the National League of Cities last fall). Now, the crisis is actually starting. Witness the dispiriting newjobs report. In September, private sector payrolls increased by a tepid 64,000, after rising by 93,000 in August. However, the real story is the extent to which the disappearance of 76,000 local government jobs completely erased the private sector gains. This time, the story wasn’t just about the termination of 77,000 Census jobs but a

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The academic case for clusters (mounted by the likes Michael Porter and others) already exists. The policy case (frequently made by us in Metro Program papers and on these pages) also exists. Now, the business case for cluster strategies and federal and state cluster policies has been gaining prominence, and that is what was recently asserted really powerfully by Eli Lilly and Co. President and CEO John Lechleiter. At a major event on innovation clusters last month, Dr.

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A Commitment to Clusters

There were some lively moments during our big event on regional innovation clusters last week.

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Yesterday we contributed to the growing buzz around cluster practice and policy with a big event at the Mayflower Hotel, co-hosted with our friends at the Center for American Progress, the Council on Competitiveness, and the National Association of Development Associations. But leaving that aside, it’s interesting to note, and try to explain, the extent to which regional industry or innovation clusters are back in the mix this fall. Readers of this blog have followed the extent to which clusters—geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting and coordinating organizations—are

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The nation is urgently searching for ways to transform its energy system with cleaner alternatives.

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We’ve long liked the Department of Energy’s new Energy Innovation Hubs program, with its resemblances to our energy discovery-innovation institutes idea.

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Too Little Too Late?

In November 2009 we and the National League of Cities (and many others) warned that steep state and local public sector cuts loomed on the horizon, and that these cuts could undermine any nascent economic recovery just as the federal government’s unprecedented stimulus spending wound down.  Well, from the looks of July’s disheartening jobs report, this prognosis is now the new reality.  The economy shed 131,000 jobs on net in July, as a modest private sector gain of 71,000 jobs was dwarfed by a public sector loss of 202,000 jobs thanks to the expiration of 143,000 temporary census positions an

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The release of our new “Export Nation” report this week makes a strong argument that if the nation is going to begin “rebalancing” its off-kilter economy then U.S.

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So, the flickering chimera of a climate bill centered on a cap-and-trade system finally flickered out last week--perhaps for a long while. In its wake is left the puny little package of "energy measures" plus oil spill responses cobbled together by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Which is really troubling.

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Sometimes a fact breaks through. When we released the Metro Program’s 2008 report “Mountain Megas” about the “megapolitan” super-metros of the Mountain West, my colleague Rob Lang and myself picked up on past work by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and began to point out that massive Phoenix and Las Vegas stand as the two largest proximate metropolitan areas not linked by an interstate. This observation might have seemed a bit abstract, but in fact it built on significant past discussion of the Mountain region’s underdeveloped transportation networks.

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