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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

November 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Seattle ranks high on productivity

The U.S. economy is growing only slowly and some economists worry we face prolonged stagnation. But look at metropolitan economies, and some stronger nodes emerge, according to creative-class scholar Richard Florida. Seattle is among the six metro areas with a productivity rate of 50 percent or more above the national average in this new metric from José Lobo of Arizona State University.

Eighty-five metros have productivity above the national rate, while 281 land below it. The top six: San Jose, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Houston and Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue). Portland ranks 19th. The lowest productivity is concentrated in metros in Arizona, Florida and Texas.

Richard Florida comments: “It’s time to recognize that the U.S. economy is not only made up of industries which grow and decline at different rates, but hundreds of metro regions that do so as well. There is a great deal national economic policy makers can gain from studying the factors that underpin the metros with more consistent and resilient growth.”

Meanwhile, Washington state comes in only middling (23) in another index, which looks at economic opportunity using unemployment, median household income and income mobility. The index by the States Project ranks Massachusetts first and South Carolina last.

According to a Bloomberg story on the report, “The states that invest in their citizens end up having better economies, which would go counter to the idea that we should strip down the size of government,” said Meredith Bagby, an author and founder of the group that published the index. “The flip side is that governments have to be well-managed.”

And Don’t Miss: #krugmanbondfilms on Twitter for a laugh.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Paul tells Intel ‘bye

Wall Street groused, research blossomed

Chips fall where they may

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