Around the Great Lakes, a recovering auto industry and rising global demand have helped stabilize labor markets. Moody’s estimates that new manufacturing jobs accounted for a fifth of the nation’s total job growth during the past year. And the large metros of the Great Lakes reaped an outsized portion of the benefits, having generated 20 percent of those new manufacturing jobs. These expanding job opportunities in manufacturing and in other parts of the economy are moving workers out of unemployment lines and onto production lines. Job growth in the region accounted for three quarters of its declining unemployment rate.
Brookings maps the recovery and the Rust Belt cluster of the darker blue (best performing metros) stands out. I figure the Great Lakes states were forced to be more globally oriented since the population numbers were increasing elsewhere. The real estate/migration economies (i.e. construction jobs) are still tanking.
More ironically, the Rust Belt cities of the Sun Belt are the ones doing the best in that region. Retooling in the wake of previous economic calamities is paying off (think Asian Financial Crisis). These metros are leaner and meaner than the boomtowns, places drunk with unabated growth.
Speaking of surging Rust Belt cities of the Sun Belt, Greenville (South Carolina) is the focus of an article in the latest magazine for Southwest Airlines. I read about it while flying out to Denver from DC. I'm somewhat familiar with Greenville's revitalization story. I'll have to visit and see for myself. I'm intrigued.