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Jon Talton

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

November 18, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Seattle among world-shaping competitive cities

Another day, another list. I try to focus on the ones that use strong metrics and are worth your time. Today’s report is Hot Spots of Competitiveness 2025 by the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Citi, looking at 150 global cities that will “shape the world” in the years ahead.

The American cities are not a surprise: New York ranks No. 1 in the world. Others and their global rank are: Chicago (9), Washington, D.C. (14), Los Angeles (17), San Francisco (18), Boston (19), Houston (27), Dallas (32), Atlanta (33), Seattle (35), Miami (40) and Philadelphia (48).

Seattle fell one slot from the 2012 survey. Miami rose by 10 spots.

The report is conspicuous by the American cities not on it: Big metros such as Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, as well as the banking center of Charlotte.

The action is clearly global: No.2 is London, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Paris, Stockholm, Paris and Toronto, even with the crack-smoking mayor. Only New York and Chicago made the global top ten. Seattle is operating in elite company. Seattle actually improved its competitiveness score, but dropped because global rivals did better.

São Paulo, Incheon and Mumbai are expected to be “top movers between 2012 and 2025.” For example, ” Brazil’s commercial and financial capital, São Paulo (36th), is the most improved city in the Index. Its coming surge in competitiveness can be attributed to the city’s young and rapidly growing workforce, solid telecommunications infrastructure, well-established democratic institutions and financial maturity.”

Still, North American cities are expected to do well — at least those already in the game. What will make the difference. “Size is not a factor,” according to the report. Solid infrastructure, good environmental practices, the quality of institutions and the quality of education are the drivers (cc Olympia).

Does this matter? Yes. The New York Times columnist (and Nobel laureate economist) Paul Krugman wrote today about how “the new normal in our economy may be a state of mild depression.”

As I have said before, the Great Recession was a come-as-you-are affair, and so is the aftermath. America is too divided to do the things that would lift the nation. So the cities and metros that were top performers in quality before the crash, the ones most competitive globally, are detaching from the rest of the country.

How the future of the Puget Sound aerospace hub plays into whether Seattle can continue to be a global city is a story that will have to wait to be written.

And Don’t Miss: An airline battle for Seattle with Delta’s Alaskan frenemy | BusinessWeek

Today’s Econ Haiku:

The sky is falling

A socialist on council

Got Debs on the place


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