Weakest and Strongest Metropolitan Areas

Ecometro Brookings ranks metropolitan areas by economic strength. Here's their interactive map. The Midwest is doing better than I thought it would. And Buffalo? Who knew? 


13 thoughts on “Weakest and Strongest Metropolitan Areas

  1. That map is mainly measuring by change over the past year, right? Maybe Buffalo just looks strong because it’s slowly declining for so long already, you know?
    Baltimore rates second-strongest on that map, and we are coming out of decades of decline, and only now breaking even, so that makes me a bit dubious of any big-picture conclusions from this map too.

  2. What Jackie said. Pittsburgh’s employment hasn’t been hurt because there is very little private sector left and because of demographic trends (i.e. if you lost your major industry 30 years ago, everybody has already either moved or hit retirement age). And our housing prices haven’t crashed because they didn’t increase.
    I’m guessing the farm belt cities are there because of high food prices last year.

  3. It looks to me that the places that had the most housing inflation are the ones that look worst. Which is why upstate NY is doing so well by these measures.

  4. “Weakest 20! Go PDX!”
    Why is that, anyway (speaking as a concerned Washingtonian)? I’ve seen a couple stats from the last year where Oregon is second only to Michigan for unemployment.

  5. Boy, they stuck a lot in the Philadelphia area! Yes, Wilmington and Camden are technically part of the area, but those areas are akin to Baltimore (no offense Jackie) in their general long-term decline.
    And I was just in Indianapolis, land of the in-laws. It seemed like a total pit to me. Large areas of strip malls are shuttered. Once thriving malls are gone. Now there are areas that are doing okay, most of them outside the city limits, up north, for example. Interesting that they’d include Carmel, which is a ritzy town.
    There’s room for development in the midwest, I suppose, but sad to see all that land covered over with strip malls that will be shuttered in a decade or so, when the growth moves elsewhere.

  6. Boy, they stuck a lot in the Philadelphia area!
    Yeah, that (PA-NJ-DE-MD) is less a “Metropolitan Area” and more “The WXPN Listening Area.”

  7. So, you hive off Philly to Jersey, and Pittsburgh to Ohio, and then you are back with the old James Carville riff: Pennsylvania, he said, was Philadelphia on one end and Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in between.

  8. Amy, I think Portland never got its tech economy that far off the ground in the 90s, and Intel’s always relied on frequent big layoffs for equilibrium. I gather this place was pretty much depressed in the 80s when other major cities were booming.

  9. Also, the Oregon economy relies, much more than Washington’s, on things like timber harvesting and processing. So, when there are swings in prices, they really feel it. Right now commodity prices are way down from their peak, and even before that much of the processing of, say, paper had moved to other countries.

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