A Tale of Two Economies

Good article (with video interview of George Fulton) by Nathan Bomey at Its called Education Chasm. Its the new reality we all need to adjust too.

Using data from a new projection of Washtenaw County by UM’s Fulton and Don Grimes, Bomey portrays a county where the knowledge economy is poised for growth as the country comes out of the Great Recession, but continued declined in the low education attainment portion of the economy.

This dominant trend may be playing out more clearly in Washtenaw – Michigan’s most knowledge-based county – than elsewhere in the state. But it will characterize the recovery everywhere. Industries with a high proportion of workers with four-year degrees or more growing, while those characterized by workers with low education attainment will grow slowly if at all. The main high education attainment sectors are health care, education, finance and insurance, professional and technical services, and information. The main low education attainment sectors are manufacturing, construction, retail, hospitality and temporary services.

This trend has been with us for two decades. With job growth nationally in the high education attainment industries double that of the low education attainment from 1990 to the beginning of the recession in 2007. That trend has accelerated in the downturn. Of the eight million jobs the US has lost since the start of the recession almost all have come in the low education attainment industries. And as the recession recedes all signs point to a continuation of this trend. Add that most good paying jobs are in the knowledge economy, its clear that the regions/states that will do best are those with the assets desired by knowledge-based enterprises and knowledge workers.

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