Metro Policy

The rebound of manufacturing jobs has been one of the bright spots of an otherwise sluggish economic recovery.  The United States had 3.7 percent more manufacturing jobs in February 2012 than in February 2010, representing a more robust rate of growth than that for overall employment, which rose by only 2.7 percent during the same time period. The post-recession rebound of manufacturing employment has been a driver of economic recovery in a number of the nation’s major metropolitan areas, including several manufacturing centers.  The latest edition of Brookings’ MetroMonitor, which has tracked

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It is increasingly well understood that cities are the primary location and mechanism of innovation and, in turn, prosperity (see “The Triumph of the City” or urban scaling). But which cities are the most innovative on earth? For a long time, getting sub-national economic data for a large number of countries was impossible, but no longer. New data from the OECD show which cities have the most inventors in the world, measured by those who apply for patent protection in multiple countries (under the Patent Cooperation Treaty).

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During economic hard times immigrants are often blamed for taking jobs away from U.S.-born citizens. This recession is no different in that regard. The many incendiary comments aimed at immigrants, especially those here illegally, bandied about the GOP primary reflect that as well. As job growth has picked up, however, a growing chorus of leaders is pushing for immigration policies that better meet economic demands and help the economy. Just how do immigrants fit into the U.S. labor market?

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The Great Recession forced U.S. companies to think in new ways about their growth and survival in the coming years. In 2010, the first year of the recovery, U.S. domestic demand remained sluggish, so American businesses looked for clients outside their  borders, especially in emerging markets, where most global growth has been taking place in recent years. As a result, U.S. exports increased rapidly in the first year of recovery, by more than 11 percent in real terms, the highest growth since 1997. Increased trade has a direct and positive impact on the economy overall and on job creation.

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Exports are an important growth engine in the United States. Not only do they support millions of jobs in the nation. They also are a vital source of sales for revitalizing the manufacturing sector. Given the urgency of U.S. economic renewal, this Thursday the Brookings Metro Program will release compelling new research on the dynamics of metropolitan export growth at an event entitled Export Nation 2012.

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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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Sometimes if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. During his time as White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel was unable to push through President Obama’s proposal to establish a National Infrastructure Bank. The NIB would be a merit-driven approach for advancing a range of infrastructure projects that have the highest return on investment and support economic growth.

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Out of the recessionary rubble the “German model” stands tall in economic and policy circles for its resiliency and productivity. The Eurozone may be cracking but the German export machine keeps turning out world-beating manufactured goods with characteristic efficiency. Although fresh scrutiny is rightfully exposing weaknesses in corners of the German economy, experts concerned with the productive sector of the U.S. economy are turning to Germany for lessons. We at the Metro Program count ourselves among the German industrial sector’s admirers.

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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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Despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in U.S. manufacturing jobs for the last 30 years has been downward, leading some to argue that long-term manufacturing job loss is inevitable. But our research shows otherwise. There are two common versions of the “inevitability” argument. One holds that U.S.

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