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Rust Belt

Rust Belt : Manufacturing Historically, the term “Rust Belt” has been used to characterize a portion of the Northeastern and Midwestern U.S. plagued by a declining population, a weakened economy, and urban decay due to a faltering industrial sector. Metropolitan areas in the Rust Belt with the highest employment growth rates between 1992 and 2000 had higher rates of job creation than other metropolitan areas. However, what is surprising is that the areas with high employment growth also had high rates of job destruction. This suggests that high employment growth is not simply related to strong job creation or rapid job destruction. Instead, high employment growth occurs through more complicated labor dynamics involving high job turnover.

In the 2000s, U.S. manufacturing suffered its worst performance in American history in terms of jobs. Not only did America lose 5.7 million manufacturing jobs, but the decline as a share of total manufacturing jobs (33 percent) exceeded the rate of loss in the Great Depression. Manufacturing lost output because its ability to compete in global markets — some manipulated by egregious foreign mercantilist policies, others supported by better national competiveness policies, like lower corporate tax rates—declined significantly.

Aging Rust Belt cities are some of the leaders in healthcare job growth despite stagnant or decreasing populations, even amid mounting pressure to cut healthcare costs. Areas seeing rapid population growth aren't as dependent on healthcare. Most large metros, those with at least a million residents, had more people coming in than leaving. The metros with the highest levels of population growth due to migration are a mix of knowledge-based economies and Sunbelt metros, including Houston, Dallas, Miami, DC, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin. Eleven large metros, nearly all in or near the Rustbelt, had a net outflow of migrants, including Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

Rust Belt : ManufacturingManufacturing had traditionally been the dominant sector in many metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. The number of manufacturing counties fell by over 40 percent from 882 counties in 2001 to 506 in 2010-12. The recession of 2007-09, outsourcing production to foreign counties, competition from abroad, and the high value of the dollar have all led to job losses in manufacturing counties. Manufacturing-dependent counties tend to be concentrated in the East North Central States and the South and are primarily nonmetropolitan.

Manufacturing is an important economic activity in the United States. The evidence of this is everywhere--in articles of clothing, items of preserved food, residential structures, means of transport and communication, and many other things. In spite of the presence of items manufactured outside the country, domestic industry remains paramount, and it is rare for any medium-sized U.S. town to be without at least some local employment in manufacturing.The northeastern United States, excluding northern New England, is the country's single most significant region of manufacturing. This region is loosely defined on three sides by the Ohio River Valley, Megalopolis, and the southern Great Lakes. The western margin of the region is less clear; it blends gradually with agriculture-dominant landscapes across southern Indiana, Illinois, and beyond.

In spite of the region's moderate extent and the growth of manufacturing elsewhere, the Manufacturing Core continues to be of tremendous economic significance in American geography. Its factories produce most of the country's steel, as well as a significant percentage of its motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts. Most of the important ports, the main centers of communication, and the primary financial centers are within or near the region, and the country's political capital is on the immediate margins.

The region includes the two largest clusters of coalescing metropolitan areas: Megalopolis, and the group of large urban regions between Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Chicago (Illinois) on the west, and Cleveland (Ohio) and Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) on the east.

Understanding America's Manufacturing Core is complicated by its strongly dual character. In many respects, it was the vitality and productivity of the territory's farm population that created the resources and the demand for industrial production. Success in agriculture supported the region's early market centers, and it was the gradual mechanization of agriculture that demanded diversified manufacturing support. Mechanical reapers, winnowing machines, and cultivating implements by the tens of thousands were required during the later 1800s. Tractors, hay balers, pumps, and increasingly specialized farm machinery continued to be important local sources of industrial demand during the first half of the 20th century. Transportation lines were improved and expanded to carry the tremendous volume of agricultural products grown on the region's farms.

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Page last modified: 01-11-2017 19:24:08 ZULU