Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.
September 12, 2013 at 9:59 AM
The Seattle Times’ Katherine Long writes today about business and civic leaders urging the University of Washington to admit more in-state students and attract more top flight faculty. Their report, Washington Futures, deserves consideration and a bias for action, with a big cc to Olympia. Few individual assets are more important to the Puget Sound region’s economy and future competitiveness than the UW, yet state funding for higher education, adjusted for inflation, stands where it did 20 years ago. Yet, as Long reports, the state’s four-year schools serve an additional 34,000 students. This year’s increase in funding is only a start.
No major innovation center exists without world-class research universities. Want to be the next Silicon Valley? It won’t happen in an America where states have been cutting education funding and today’s super-rich, unlike their Robber Baron predecessors, aren’t founding new universities. Indeed, the major high tech startup clusters in America have changed little over the past 20 years — even though Seattle has moved up in the rankings. I suspect the recession only exacerbated this trend, locking in winners and losers and making entry to the exclusive club even more difficult.
But that doesn’t mean the leaders can rest easy. The competition today is global. Yesterday’s Third World is accumulating universities and corporate research centers, challenging the advanced nations for talent. Advanced nations are competing more ferociously against each other — which makes the cutting of research by the federal sequester all the more insane. And metropolitan areas on the make can nibble at the margins of those at the top, especially outside of Silicon Valley. At the heart of a successful ecosystem are great universities, attracting top students and faculty, performing breakthrough research and transferring it into the private sector.
And Don’t Miss: Living near good transit may make you happier | The Atlantic
Today’s Econ Haiku:
So Michael Dell wins
It was a bitter contest
The reboot? Harder
June 11, 2012 at 9:05 AM
Silicon Valley is hard to beat, but by one calculation the Puget Sound region has done better in the long run at creating and retaining science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related (STEM) jobs. This according to a study published last month on the New Geography blog. It helps explain one reason (another is trade) why Seattle is doing better than most places in the two-track surviving/depression economy.
So which areas offer better long-term, broad-based prospects for tech growth? The most consistent performer over the period we assessed is the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., metro area, which takes first place on our list. Its 12 percent tech job growth over the past two years and 7.6 percent STEM growth beat the Valley’s numbers. More important for potential job-seekers, the Puget Sound regions has grown consistently in good times and bad, boasting a remarkable 43 percent increase in tech employment over the decade and an 18 percent expansion in STEM jobs.
It goes on to note, “Seattle withstood both recessions of the past decade better than most regions, particularly the Valley. The presence of such solid tech-oriented companies as Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing — and lower housing costs than the Bay Area — may have much to do with this.” I’d add: the University of Washington (n.b. legislators).
October 19, 2010 at 9:50 AM
The business blogosphere is full of lists: Some worthwhile, others…well…
Richard Florida weighs in with solid research on the world’s leading centers for academic research. Or, as I would put it, here are Seattle’s serious competitors for talent, innovation and a high-wage economy. Seattle ranks 21st; not bad, but not good enough for where the world is heading. Florida writes:
For the time being, the U.S. remains in the lead, but foreign centers appear to be gaining ground. And this trend may be accelerated by the mounting budget problems facing many states and research universities as well as cutbacks in research funding and growing anti-immigrant sentiment in some quarters of the United States. Great Resets like the current one have given rise to significant shifts in the locus of scientific research talent in the past. And this was a large part of the reason the United States eclipsed Europe on this front during the last Great Reset.
But what’s even more striking about the map is the degree of geographic concentration on the East and West Coasts of North America, Western Europe, and just a few spots in Asia and Australia/New Zealand. The concentration of the knowledge and scientific assets in just three major mega-clusters — the East Coast/Great Lakes, West Coast of North America, and in Europe – is astounding. And it is likely to reflect significant geographic advantages in research and knowledge-generation for them.
I hope the search committee for the next UW president and the budget mavens in Olympia are paying attention.
July 14, 2010 at 10:00 AM
The University of Washington today is releasing a study showing it brings $9.1 billion in total direct and indirect economic impact to the state. For every $1 in taxpayer funds invested, the university generates $22.56 in economic activity.
The study was performed by Tripp Umbach, the Pittsburgh-based consulting and economic research firm, using the American Council on Education’s gold standard research yardsticks for measuring college and university economic impacts. Other highlights include:
– The university is a major magnet for government and industry sponsored research. For example, $566 million went to the college of medicine alone in fiscal 2009.
– Directly and indirectly, UW is responsible for $618.1 million in tax revenues. That translates into $1.48 for every $1 invested by taxpayers.
– It is the third-largest employer in the state, generating 69,800 jobs, including 28,000 directly employed and 9,000 research jobs.
– 12,000 students graduate each year and 74 percent of alumni stay in Washington.
– The Center for Commercialization (C4C) is one of the top five university technology transfer offices in the nation. In 2009, it had 2,200 issued and pending patents.
– UW Medicine provided more than $267 million in care to state residents for which it did not receive full compensation, either as charity or bad debt written off.