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Last Updated: 11/14/14

News Release: Midwestern Industrial Cities Report

Midwestern Industrial Cities Profiled in New Report

CHICAGO – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago researchers recently published profiles of 10 Midwestern cities that experienced significant manufacturing job loss in recent decades.

The cities are Aurora and Joliet in Illinois, Fort Wayne and Gary in Indiana, Cedar Rapids and Waterloo in Iowa, Grand Rapids and Pontiac in Michigan and Green Bay and Racine in Wisconsin. 

The profiles include insight from various local leaders on the cities’ actions in the wake of the job loss that have either helped or hindered redevelopment efforts.

“We did this to help the residents of these Midwestern cities better understand the approaches that contributed to their rebound,” said Susan Longworth, a member of the Bank’s division of Community Development and Policy Studies (CDPS) and editor of a book, Industrial Cities Initiative, that contains the profiles. “These profiles can also serve as a springboard for discussion by community leaders in other cities to help them understand what approaches are working in other places confronted with similar circumstances.”

The profiles were written as part of a project also called the Industrial Cities Initiative (ICI) and are based on interviews with a variety of community leaders involved in redevelopment efforts.  The ICI looked at the cities’ conditions, trends and experiences and concluded that efforts to improve their economic and social well-being are shaped by:

  • Macroeconomic forces:  Regardless of their size or location, these cities are impacted by globalization, immigration, education and training needs, demographic trends including an aging population, and the benefits and burdens of wealth, wages, and poverty.
  • State and national policies:  State and national policies pit one city against another in a zero-sum competition for job- and wealth-generated firms, say economic development leaders.
  • The dynamic relationship of the city and the region in which it is located:  Regional strengths and weaknesses to a large extent determine the fate of the respective cities.

The complete ICI project report is available and includes the individual city profiles. 

For more information about the project, or to arrange an interview with a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago representative to discuss one of the profiles or the ICI’s general findings, contact Laura LaBarbera at laura.labarbera@chi.frb.org, or (312) 322-2387.

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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Background

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the nation’s central bank.  The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the state of Iowa.  In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government, and monitors economic conditions in its District.

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