News Archive: April 2009
Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment
Washington: The movement of people and jobs away from city centers into increasingly distant suburbs represents a long-standing trend in metropolitan America. The ongoing decentralization of population and employment has implications for the overall health and productivity of metro areas across the country. While "people sprawl" has been well-recognized and documented, this paper from the Brookings Institution focuses specifically on "job sprawl," exploring recent trends in the spatial distribution of employment in 98 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas and how those trends differ across major industries. Click here for a downloadable copy of the report.
Jobs may decentralize within a metro area for a variety of reasons, and can signal very different development patterns. But whether decentralization occurs due to the emergence of secondary downtowns in a booming region or because of diffuse, low-density sprawl in distressed metro areas, the changing location of employment is inextricably linked to a range of policy issues critical to a metro area's success. From transportation to workforce development to regional innovation and the provision of social services, the spatial distribution of a metro area's jobs can ultimately influence its economic productivity, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion and equity.
Frameworks for Measuring Innovation: Initial Approaches
Washington: Innovation has long been recognized as an important driver of economic growth. Most empirical research and surveys of firms show that innovation leads to new products and services that are higher in quality and lower in price. Historically, innovation has been treated as a residual measure after accounting for other factors of growth (mostly labor and capital). The primary goal in measuring innovation is to improve our understanding of growth. The actual output of innovation in terms of new goods and services or improved processes is already captured in the gross domestic product (GDP) and the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs). The amount and type of investment that lead to innovation, however, are not captured. This type of information is needed to improve our understanding of economic growth.
This report from the Athena Alliance proposes a set of attributes of innovation and a new relationship between intangible assets and innovation. Click here for a downloadable version of the report.
Recent Demographic Trends in Metropolitan America
Washington, DC: The new administration taking shape in Washington inherits not only an economic crisis, but also a mammoth apparatus of agencies and programs, many of which were developed a generation or more ago. In view of that, a president and Congress striving to "build a smarter government" should develop new policies or retool old programs with the latest population trends in mind, especially those shaping and re-shaping metropolitan areas-our nation's engines of economic growth and opportunity, according to a new report on recent demographic trends in metropolitan America published by the Brookings Institution recently.
Migration across states and metro areas has slowed considerably in the past two years due to the housing crisis and looming recession;
Racial and ethnic minorities are driving the nation's population growth and increasing diversity among its younger residents;
The next decade promises massive growth of the senior population, especially in suburbs unaccustomed to housing older people;
The sources and destinations of U.S. immigrants continue their long-run shifts;
Amid rising educational attainment overall, the U.S. exhibits wide regional and racial/ethnic disparities;
Even before the onset of the current recession, poverty rose during the 2000s, and spread rapidly to suburban locations.
For a downloadable version of the report, click here.
Building an Innovation Nation
In times of economic turbulence, innovation remains the most important differentiator separating economic winners from also-rans. McKinsey & Company has partnered with the World Economic Forum to create an "Innovation Heat Map," by identifying factors that are common to successful innovation hubs.
As part of this effort, McKinsey has examined the evolution of hundreds of such clusters around the world and analyzed over 700 variables, including those driving innovation (business environment, government and regulation, human capital, infrastructure, and local demand) along with proxies for innovation output (for example, economic value added, journal publications, patent applications) to identify trends among the success stories. In the process, they have found patterns that suggest the critical ingredients required to grow, nurture, and sustain innovation hubs.
At the same time, we have compiled thousands of data points that may be used to identify bottlenecks and benchmark the performance of cities, regions, and countries by measuring how they are evolving. Click here to connect to the "Innovation Heat Map". Lancaster is on the lower left (Momentum, 4%; Diversity, .21; Cluster Size, 152) on the North America section...a so-called "Shrinking Pool"
The Innovation Imperative in Manufacturing: How the United States Can Restore its Edge
Boston: This study by the Boston Consulting Group and the National Association of Manufacturers assesses the current state of innovation at US companies to determine how the country ranks as an innovation leader. In particular it concentrates on what factors make companies successful at innovation? And what role does government play in supporting more innovation in manufacturing? This innovation assessment includes a survey of corporate members on the use of innovation tools and process, results, and the impact of public policy. It also includes a comparison of innovation "friendliness" of 110 countries and benchmarks the US at all of the states on the basis of their government policies and performance. The findings find a strong link between innovative performance and GDP per capita, as well as concerted government support for innovation in manufacturing. The results suggest that the US may be falling short in its commitment to innovation and to innovation performance. Click here for a downloadable version of the report.
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York scored above average in terms of innovation inputs and performance. A handful of states were recognized as above average performers, although their innovation inputs were fairly low including Idaho; Montana; Oregon; and, Texas.
Lancaster Ranks 9th in Nation in Manufacturing Employment
Lancaster: In a recent feature, Insider, an online publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council, the leading association of industrial asset management and corporate real estate executives, their suppliers and service providers, and economic developers, referenced a list generated by Brookings Institution of top manufacturing employment areas in the United States. Lancaster was ranked ninth in a list that included Wichita, KS; Grand Rapids, MI; San Jose, CA; Detroit, MI; Youngstown, OH; Greenville, SC; Greensboro, NC; Akron, OH, and Milwaukee, WI.
Concentrations of manufacturing in a regional economy often reflect a strong labor pool with diverse skills that often are not reflected in companion statistics on educational attainment. Manufacturing that is being reinvented by new technology often increases its contribution to gross metropolitcan product because of productivity gains. While employment often declines with improvement in productivity, the quality of the jobs usually improve, driven by the higher skills required by technology.