Midwest Economy Blog
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By William Testa       June 19, 2006

Transportation of goods and materials seems to be as important as ever in the U.S. economy. Rising personal income in the U.S. begets greater demand for goods, and these goods must be transported from their place of production to the places where households consume them. In addition, as global trade has expanded, goods are purchased and transported from afar to an ever greater extent. Mea... Read More

By William Testa       June 7, 2006

The recent influx of foreign born into the United States has drawn attention on several public policy fronts. The U.S. Congress is currently considering a tighter border policy with Mexico, in part due to concerns of national security and the rule of law. In addition, the surge in foreign born (and their offspring) figures into debates over the sources of the widening wage and income disp... Read More

By William Testa       May 30, 2006

In his description of Chicago, Carl Sandburg poetically referred to it as the “city of the big shoulders … stacker of wheat … tool maker … player with the railroads … hog butcher.” At the time, this description fit Chicago's economy just right as a place of muscular blue-collar industries such as rail freight, steel making, and meat packing. But today, Chicago'... Read More

By William Testa       May 23, 2006

Several cities and metropolitan areas in the Midwest are actively encouraging startup technology companies. Not all of these cities are likely to succeed, but those that have a prodigious base of basic research activity have the best prospects. The Chicago metropolitan area has long been one place where the strong flow of both federally-funded and large-company R&D in the medical and ... Read More

By William Testa       May 18, 2006

Two corporate headquarters location developments made Midwest headlines on May 10. One was the news story that UAL, the holding company for Chicago-based United Airlines, was considering moving its corporate offices from Chicago's suburbs to the city's central business district or possibly to another city. On the same day, Whirlpool announced a restructuring that will close the headquarte... Read More

By William Testa       May 10, 2006

With energy price spikes grabbing the headlines, economists are rushing to provide perspectives and context on the impacts of today's fossil fuel scarcity. Because energy prices were so low for such a very long time, some of us had gotten out of the habit of focusing in our policy discussions on the role of markets in determining price and availability, and how market prices can help econ... Read More

By William Testa       May 5, 2006

In preparing for a presentation to be delivered before the ARS National Forum on Regional Stewardship this week, I was prepared to expound on the superior economic performance of Chicago in comparison to neighboring cities. After all, John Grimond's recent review of Chicago for Economist magazine recently stated that “Chicago has come through deindustrialization looking shiny and confiden... Read More

By William Testa       April 27, 2006

In regard to the economy, everyone associates the Midwest, especially Michigan, with the Big Three automotive nameplates of General Motors (GM), Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler. Also, most everyone is aware that the Big Three are closing some of their assembly plants, where finished vehicles are produced, in part because they are losing domestic sales to other international assembly companies.... Read More

By William Testa       April 17, 2006

The manufacturing downturn that began the current decade affected the Midwest more severely than the rest of the nation. In response to recent manufacturing decline, at least one consortium of manufacturers is now forming on a region-wide basis to share best practices and to promote manufacturing in the Midwest. As measured by manufacturing employment, the combined declines in the... Read More

By William Testa       April 10, 2006

Some of the Seventh District's slow economic growth earlier in this decade originated with softness in U.S. exports abroad. The manufacturing sector continues to account for the lion's share of U.S. exports, especially capital goods such as high-tech electronics and computing machinery, as well as industrial machinery and equipment. As global economic growth has recovered, so have U.S. ex... Read More

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