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Jon Talton

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

July 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Forty years of progress — or not

To the ongoing argument/search to understand how American opportunity has changed in recent decades, I recommend a new report from the groups Measure of America and Opportunity Nation. They take 16 metrics from 1970 to 2010 to give a deeper understanding of where the nation has made gains or faced headwinds.

The Historical Report Opportunity Score for the nation improved 13 percent from 1970 to 2010, with the biggest gains coming from 1990 to 2000. Education and community yardsticks saw noticeable gains. Then there’s the economy: Those measures fell in the 1970s and took a significant dip in the 2000s. Some of that comes from the Great Recession, but not all (the report does not explore, for example, the effect of China entering the World Trade Organization). It notes:

While the Jobs and Local Economy Dimension score was 62.4 out of 100 in 1970, this figure had fallen to 48.5 forty years later, a reduction of 22 percent. Although this set of indicators saw overall progress during the 1980s and 1990s, the economic declines of the 1970s and 2000s ultimately eroded any long-standing positive effect of this growth. The national decline post-2000 was almost three times as large in percentage terms as the decline of the 1970s, while the positive change between 1990 and 2000 was more than double the positive change between 1980 and 1990.

In state terms, the biggest improvement came in Virginia, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Nevada and Michigan saw the largest decline. Washington outperformed the nation and most states every decade, but 2010’s overall score was more than a full percentage point below 2000. Idaho and Oregon saw big gains in the 1990s.

You can read the entire report here and compare data here.

Tuesday Reading: Bank regulators warn lenders over pending home-equity line resets | MarketPlace

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Activist judges

Deal workers another blow

It’s not just an act

 

 

 

Comments | More in Income/living standards, Pacific Northwest economy

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