How's the Rust Belt Going to Make It?
The American economy is often discussed as if it were one cohesive juggernaut, but prosperity and employment aren't evenly spread among the different regions and people. How Americans and their government will deal with the lumpiness of the economy is not at all clear.
"If jobs are plentiful in Denver (unemployment rate: 2.6 percent) and Salt Lake City (unemployment rate: 2.8 percent), then Economics 101 suggests it's time for a big migration west from the Rust Belt to the Boom Belt," Heather Long reports for the Washington Post. But Americans don't move as much as they once did. "It's expensive and risky to leave a place your family has been living in for generations, and there's no guarantee the job you move for will still exist in a few years," Long writes. Beyond practical concerns, Long argues that, culturally, it’s becoming less common for workers to go to where the jobs are.
In trying to revive the communities that are falling behind, various strategies have been attempted: some try to stabilize shrinking industries while others hope to push communities toward what they see as the jobs of the future. Long spoke with economist, Joseph Stiglitz, who thinks communities are better off trying to evolve. "Stiglitz points to Pittsburgh as the true American success story, a place that evolved from a steel city into a tech and health-care hub," Long writes.