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Brookings: Chicago metro area shedding “innovation jobs”

Monday, Dec 9, 2019

* Vox

Technology jobs and the economic prosperity they bring are being concentrated in fewer US cities, according to a new report from The Brookings Institution.

Since 2005, five metro areas — Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Seattle, and San Diego — accounted for 90 percent of all US growth in “innovation sector” jobs, which Brookings defines as employment in the top science, technology, engineering, and math industries that include extensive research and development spending. Meanwhile, 343 metro areas lost a share of these jobs in that same period.

The result: Wealth and productivity are becoming even more concentrated in fewer, primarily coastal cities. One-third of the nation’s innovation jobs resides in just 16 counties; half are concentrated in 41 counties. These jobs are high-paying and contribute to overall faster wage growth in the areas they’re located, than in areas with fewer innovation jobs. They also result in a lot of secondary work — jobs created to help serve those workers.

These locations draw educated people and investment money from other places. Some 40 percent of adults have Bachelor’s degrees in the top 5 percent of metro areas with innovation job concentration, compared with 26 percent in the bottom three quartiles.

* These are the “innovation industries”

• Basic chemical manufacturing
• Pesticide, fertilizer, and agricultural chemical
manufacturing
• Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
• Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing
• Communications equipment manufacturing
• Semiconductor and other electronic components
manufacturing
• Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control
instruments manufacturing
• Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
• Software publishers
• Satellite telecommunications
• Data processing, hosting, and related services
• Other information services
• Scientific research and development services

* What Brookings calls “superstar metro areas“…

• New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
• San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
• Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
• Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
• Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
• San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
• Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
• Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
• San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
• Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
• Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
• Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
• Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
• Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
• Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
• Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
• Austin-Round Rock, TX
• St. Louis, MO-IL
• Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
• Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

So, we’re 10th out of 20. Not bad.

* Now for the bad news

(M)etro areas such Chicago and Wichita have both shed innovation jobs and national share

According to the study, the Chicago metro area lost 12,582 innovation industries jobs between 2015 and 2017. The most jobs lost of any metro area and the second-highest percentage of job loss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

16 Comments
  1. - South of Sherman - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    Of course, that was at the height of Raunerism, the budget impasse, and the implosion of human services. I’d be interested to see if those numbers are starting to bounce back now.


  2. - Sue - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    Sherman - give us s as ll. Break. Rauner isn’t responsible for Illinois losing more population over the last decade then any other State by percentages. Illinois ‘ pension ills and other fiscal issues are the culprits. Geez


  3. - SSL - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    Haven’t we seen other studies with conflicting information? I hope this information is wrong. Those positions are exactly the kind JB is counting on for paying the fair tax.


  4. - NIU Grad - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Here’s my question: Rahm made business development THE priority of his 8 years…would these numbers be much worse without that emphasis or would it have just stayed the same?


  5. - Andrew Yang - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:49 pm:

    I’m right and you know it. Time for UBI in Chicago.


  6. - Honeybear - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    Don’t forget Illinois has two Innovation super Metros
    St.Louis Metro- Illinois side
    Madison County Communications is just down the road from me.


  7. - lake county democrat - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 4:05 pm:

    In a sense #6 on down is meaningless (or trivial) if it’s true 90% are going to the top 5 - it’s fighting over scraps. Important scraps but YKWIM. And I’m concerned about Minneapolis leapfrogging up given their recent growth trends.

    At a minimum, let’s make sure when we prioritize our higher ed spending we keep U of I’s great reputation in engineering and science high, and do what we can to increase UIC’s appeal beyond the area.


  8. - Fixer - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 4:09 pm:

    Sue, look at when the numbers on those categories began to accelerate. Might find some more truth in Sherman’s assertion than you care for.


  9. - OpentoDiscusssion - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    - South of Sherman - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    “Of course, that was at the height of Raunerism, the budget impasse, and the implosion of human services. I’d be interested to see if those numbers are starting to bounce back now.”

    Believe that when I see firm data. Tell me when it happens, Not holding my breath.

    Rauner was an incompetent Gov and a jerk but he is not the cause of this.


  10. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 4:54 pm:

    Yeah, let’s go ahead and create a payroll tax and see if that helps create jobs in this sector, the fastest growing sector on the planet.


  11. - Southwest Sider - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 4:58 pm:

    i am with sue. the bad fiscal news keeps coming


  12. - AnotherAnon - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 5:30 pm:

    How about a tax of $50 per employee per month as some of the geniuses in Chicago want? That will do wonders for job creation.


  13. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 7:04 pm:

    Of these high-level research jobs in Chicagoland, thousands are represented by Argonne and Fermi Labs, and I would think the top universities in the city represent a lot of PHD’s as well. On the other hand, Bell Labs in Naperville is a shadow of its former self, unfortunately, having been taken over by Lucent-Alcatel, and now Nokia, shrinking at each step. I believe Amoco Research, also in Naperville, is also much smaller than it used to be (if it even exists anymore). CNH’s Engineering Center in Burr Ridge has become a multi-discipline site now, with the company’s research being done at multiple sites around the world. I believe Abbott Labs (far northern suburbs) is still doing OK.

    Bottom line, globalization has likely not just diluted the manufacturing base, but the research base as well. With so many cities around the world competing for good jobs, we have our hands full to attract / retain them.


  14. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 7:15 pm:

    Innovative? Chicago is doing everything in its power to eliminate Uber/Lyft and force folks to use cabs and stagecoaches.


  15. - lake county democrat - Monday, Dec 9, 19 @ 9:07 pm:

    If this was a tax thing then New York, Boston, Seattle and California wouldn’t be decimating all the others.


  16. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Dec 10, 19 @ 7:13 am:

    You can’t take the city out of the context of the state - MA has the 8th highest taxes in the nation. NYC metro at the top of the list. And you ignore the California metro areas entirely.


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