Thursday, September 13, 2012

Preretirement Pittsburgh

Forget the Baby Boomers and the wonders of Geriatric-Burgh. Think over-educated and underemployed and not quite yet 40. Imagine Portland but with a diverse economy and actual jobs. Picture the face of the un-Creative Class with throngs of hipsters that Richard Florida can't possibly explain. The research:

For more than 50 years, Jurjevich says, people in this country consistently have moved to places where they were more likely to get jobs. Not now, and not in Portland. Jurjevich calls it “a new frontier in migration patterns.”

Those new migrants are coming to Portland and staying despite the fact that they are making 84 cents on the dollar compared to college grads in other U.S. cities. On average, a college-educated young Portlander makes about $8,000 less per year than a counterpart in Seattle doing comparable work.

The PSU report notes that young college-educated Portlanders have an unemployment rate 20 percent to 30 percent higher than the average for the nation’s 50 largest metro areas.

The educated young are coming to Portland, the PSU study suggests, for the cheaply obtained quality of life.

Which makes it unsurprising that the young creatives aren’t proving to be the economic engine the city had hoped. Multnomah County ranks second to last in job creation among 194 metro-area counties in the West during the past decade. Since 1997, Multnomah County has lost more than 26,000 private-sector jobs.

Emphasis added. Portland isn't the only city sitting at the new frontier of migration patterns. Jurjevich lists the top-10:

A few surprises, no? All hail the Texas Triangle, including my new favorite metro, San Antonio. And then there is, of course, Shittsburgh. Portland, that has to sting.

Joe Cortright isn't worried. I sure would be. Companies can find a similar talent pool in Pittsburgh and, increasingly, in San Antonio. Both cities have a blue collar work ethic. Why would I move my business to where workers are only semi-interested in a job? Why wouldn't I relocate to Louisville? Portland's self-delusion continues.

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