For the first time since World War II, there are fewer jobs three years after the end of a recession than before it began. Our new Brookings report suggests that most of this flat recovery can be attributed to severe losses in housing wealth and jobs in industries such as manufacturing and construction. Yet education--especially the balance between the demand and supply of educated workers--is the most important factor explaining long-run unemployment in metropolitan and national labor markets. First, consider the short-run picture.
What explains the wide range of economic growth and prosperity across U.S. regions, and why is it so hard for struggling metro areas to reverse multi-decade trends? These are the questions that urban economist Enrico Moretti addresses in The New Geography of Jobs. In his vision, innovative workers and companies create prosperity that flows broadly, but these gains are mostly metropolitan in scale, meaning that geography substantially determines economic vitality. To start, the book offers a hopeful interpretation of technological change and globalization.
When I’m not deep in a presidential election season, I do like writing about subjects other than politics, including the whole realm of urban policy/economic development/land use. It was that interest that led me, two years ago, to write a long magazine piece critiquing the remarkably lucrative enterprise that had grown out of Richard Florida’s 2002 best-seller, The Rise of the Creative Class.
Mitt Romney’s appearance at the NAACP convention in Houston was the occasion for much media tittering—after all, the candidate’s prior attempts to ingratiate himself with African-Americans had produced some awkward moments. The speech did not disappoint in the awkwardness department — Romney opened with a cringe-worthy line of praise for the convention’s organ music, and the same organ later tried to prematurely usher him off the stage, like a verbose Oscar recipient.
A few years ago, national journalists discovered Detroit—or, rather, discovered that the city of Detroit was a dream subject. Its ruins of abandoned buildings made for astounding photo spreads of an apocalyptic wasteland, and writers big and small tried to wrestle with the question of how the former auto capitol of the world could have turned into this shell of a city. Detroiters hate these stories, say they’re the journalistic equivalent of rubber-necking.
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
Are Republicans increasingly becoming the party of the white working class? So says Jonathan Haidt, but political scientist Larry Bartels offers up a convincing response: While the white working class has trended toward Republicans over the last few decades, the movement is exclusively a Southern phenomenon.
Well, so much for Scott Walker's brand of Republicanism being all about forward-looking, green-eyeshade bottom-line reform. It's flown mostly under the national radar this week, but Walker decided to go old-school, late-1980s-style, with a TV ad conjuring the menace of inner-city crime to attack his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.