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The Lending Goes On in Midsize Cities

In midsize cities across the United States, consumer borrowing has actually increased, which often leads to higher employment levels and wages than average.
April 2, 2009, 6am PDT | Judy Chang
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"It is one of the few times in recent economic history when so many midsize cities are outperforming their larger counterparts, says Ross DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank. The new lending patterns, he says, reflect more disciplined economic-development strategies in those cities, more diverse employment and lower costs. Many of the higher-lending areas appeared on the institute's list of 'best-performing' cities for 2008, measured by job, wage and salary increases. Provo, Huntsville and McAllen were all in the top 10.

'The medium-size metros that have done the blocking and tackling are better positioned during the downturn,' he says."

"Some of the better-performing cities didn't experience speculative real-estate bubbles, leaving them with more solid household-credit conditions, which are conducive to lending. Others are benefiting from major government spending, such as massive infrastructure projects and military bases. Many have unemployment rates below the national average and rank among the nation's best job creators."

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Published on Monday, March 30, 2009 in The Wall Street Journal
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