Saturday, June 21st, 2008
The Brookings Institution released a new study and paper on their proposed new federal partnership for America’s metro areas. Included is a measure of how the top 100 metro areas in America stack up across a range of measures, lined up with the three pillars of growth that they identify as necessary for a successful future: productivity, inclusiveness, and sustainability. Feel free to read this for yourself. Included along with the report are summary pages on all 100 metro areas.
I found the data very interesting, so thought I’d reproduce the rankings from the productivity pillar here.
First is GDP per job. Now this is an interesting measure. I’m not sure why they selected GDP per job instead of something like GDP per capita. The per job measure would appear to have some weaknesses. For example, a very high unemployment rate might not count against you. Most international comparisons use GDP per capita. I’m sure they had their reasons. And it is still an interesting measure. And GDP per capita is easy to calculate for yourself at home if you want to.
The US average GDP per job is $87, 771. The top 100 metro GDP per job average is $96,655. Perhaps this is also a case where the average misleads, since only 19 of the top 100 metros are above average. The median for the top 100 is $82,129.
|Metro||GDP Per Job||Top 100 Rank|
The next measure is growth in GDP per job, a logical follow-on measure to look at. The time period is 2001-2005, which may not be the greatest because of the dot com recession. You can get good productivity growth in recessions that is not sustainable, as companies cut jobs and make everyone work harder. But job growth did recover by the end of that period. The US average was 9.4% and the top 100 metro average was 9.5%.
|Metro||GDP Per Job Growth (01-05)||Top 100 Rank|
These measures are interesting to me, and I haven’t fully thought through what they might imply. I notice that the major Midwest metros score well on GDP per job, but not so well on growth. If a better rank is better in this chart, then the numbers paint a different picture than the conventional wisdom view in some cases. For example, we’d say Cleveland is a struggling town, but they rank among the best in the Midwest on these measures. What is behind this? It would be interesting to look. I threw Des Moines in there because they score so well, and this high score reminded me of the recent NYT article I cited about a worker shortage there.
The third productivity measure is percentage of adults 25 or over with a bachelor’s degree. The US average is 27.0% and the top 100 metro average is 30.6%. Again, only a third of metros are above that average, so I’ll give the top 100 median of 28.4%
|Metro||Bachelor’s Degree %||Top 100 Rank|
The overlap here between the conventional wisdom view and the rankings are pretty darn close. Cleveland is near the bottom in this list where conventional wisdom ranking would expect it to be. Louisville is the outlier here. Its economic performance is better than its educational attainment would suggest.
There’s much more data on the Brookings site, so check it out at your leisure.