Metro Policy

For three years now the Mountain Monitor—Brookings Mountain West’s Mountain Zone variant of Brookings’ MetroMonitor—has been tracking the region’s protracted, in-most-places anemic, economic recovery. Quarter-to-quarter, the Monitor has reported on a slow healing of the region’s metropolitan economies that has differed starkly from the region’s past boom-bust cycles. Now, though, that reporting is continuing, albeit in a new, web-based interactive tool presenting data through the first quarter of 2012.  The new web-based tool provides not only a more interactive way to track trends in U.S.

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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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with Shyamali Choudhury Last Thursday, presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his new “softened” immigration plan, and called for lifting the cap on visas for high-skilled temporary workers. This year, the H-1B high-skilled worker visa cap was reached within two months after the application period opened.

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Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced big news: Effective immediately, eligible undocumented youth are granted deferred action from deportation (a form of administrative relief). This important and sensible step by the Obama administration provides immigrants under the age of 30 who have been in the United States for at least five years and are currently enrolled or have graduated from high school or have been honorably discharged from the U.S.

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In this week’s TIME Magazine and on last Sunday’s CNN prime-time special, Fareed Zakaria focused on the shortcomings of the U.S. immigration policy and its current and future impact upon the U.S. economy. A lot of the discussion was about the inability of high-skilled immigrants to stay in the United States and how it influences the competitiveness of U.S.-based companies. In a related post, my colleagues Neil Ruiz and Jill Wilson touch upon this subject in an explanation of the recently-reached H1B cap for fiscal year 2013.

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Ready. Set. Stop! Over the past week, American employers have been sprinting to the finish line to submit their H-1B applications for fiscal year 2013. It took only 10 weeks this year to reach the FY2013 visa cap of 85,000. Last year, it took more than three times longer, 33 weeks.  From Silicon Valley to America’s heartland, H-1B workers provide both large and small American companies with specialized skills in information technology, science, engineering, medicine, and other fields. This temporary visa program is used by U.S.

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It’s been five years since we seriously attempted to reform U.S.

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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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Is Dallas a “global region?” It would sure seem that way. The region is the sixth largest metropolitan economy in the United States, and according to Brookings’ Global MetroMonitor, the 12th largest in the world. By virtue of size alone, Dallas appears to be a powerful force in the global marketplace. Move beyond size, however, and the global status of the Dallas area seems to be in the eye of the beholder.

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I’ve been enjoying Niall Ferguson’s new PBS series on the rise of civilization in Western Europe. One of the many lessons is that other societies—like China and the Ottoman Empire—were seemingly well positioned to lead the world into an industrial revolution, but at key points, their leaders rejected scholarship, scientific inquiry, and trade, while, haltingly, those things began to flourish in Western Europe, its universities, and its chartered commercial and learning institutions, like the Royal Society of London.

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