Two Paths to Prosperity
"So near and yet so far away" is an old saying that best describes recent economic trends in Detroit and Chicago. Detroit and Chicago are the two largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest with populations exceeding 4 million and 6 million, respectively. Despite their similar size and close physical proximity (at just over 279 miles apart), they have followed much different paths in the Midwest economy. Although both services and technology activities have increased, Detroit has remained largely a manufacturing oriented town while, to a greater extent, Chicago has shed manufacturing in favor of services, transportation, and trade. Economic performances have also diverged. Over the past two decades, Chicago has held a slight edge in total employment growth while in manufacturing alone, Detroit's decline has not been as precipitous.