Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pennsylvania Boom

I've written plenty about Pittsburgh's run of good fortune. And I don't pay much attention to state level data. But what about Philadelphia and Pennsylvania's East Coast? Goodbye, New Jersey:

“The commuting zones for New York, New Jersey, and Maryland are expanding into Pennsylvania,” said Gordon De Jong, professor of sociology and demography at Pennsylvania State University.

According to De Jong, the Pennsylvania counties most benefiting from state-to-state moves are: Pike and Monroe, within commuting distance of the New York metropolitan labor market; Northampton, Bucks, and Lehigh, with proximity to New Jersey’s labor market; and York, Adams, and Franklin, within the Baltimore/Hagerstown metropolitan market.

The migration pattern is geographic arbitrage, the proximity dividend. Talent is trying to maintain big city access at a fraction of the cost. Allentown is the next Brooklyn. Think gentrification on a much larger scale.

Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania are benefiting from being near New York City and Baltimore/DC. Which makes the Pittsburgh boom all the more remarkable. Pittsburgh is the proximity dividend. Cleveland and even Columbus benefit from being near Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is reinventing itself in the middle of nowhere. Philadelphia is functionally a cheaper New York City. Regardless, the twin engines of Pennsylvania are propelling the state to the forefront of regional prosperity.

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