Why Many Cities Should Start Looking Beyond Eds and Meds

For many years, economists have touted the higher-education and health care sectors as powerful engines for local economic growth. However, a growing chorus of observers are warning about the continued validity of that premise.
November 27, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"The reasons many cities turn to eds and meds for economic development are easy to understand," observes Richard Florida. "Both industries have been defined by substantial growth over the past few decades, and that looks set to continue." However changes are afoot in those industries that will likely result in a "greater concentration of the education and medicine sectors in fewer cities and regions." 

Florida and his colleagues dig into employment data to determine which local economies are most at risk by such consolidation. Their analysis reveals that small cities like Goldsboro and Greenville in North Carolina; Johnson City, Tennessee; and Rome, Georgia might want to diversify their economies.

And, as he notes, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. Analysis by his colleague Charlotta Mellander indicates that "[e]ds and meds employment levels were uniformly negatively associated with nearly every single important measure of regional economic performance: income, economic output per capita, and high tech industry concentration."

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Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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