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The New Geography of Jobs
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
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Enrico Moretti uncovered that for each additional job in manufacturing 1.6 jobs are created in local jobs ranging from barbers, waiters, to doctors and lawyers. But, for the innovation sector, the job multiplier is 5. Moretti explores the implications of those job multipliers for the prospect of cities. By doing so, he dismantles Timothy Noah's The Great Divergence: America's Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

Moretti observes secular changes in the American workforce. 150 years ago, 50% of the labor force was engaged in agriculture vs less than 1% today. Yet, the agriculture output is far greater now. US manufacturing is undergoing the same process. US manufacturing output is as large as China's (pg. 36) and has doubled since 1970. Yet, the US manufacturing labor force is smaller than in 1970. Just as agriculture, manufacturing has become more productive and less labor intensive.

Job growth is in good part generated by the innovation sector (Internet, software, scientific R&D, pharmaceuticals). The innovation sector employs 10% of the labor force. But, it has a huge influence on overall job growth. When an extra scientist is hired in a city, over time it creates 5 additional local jobs outside the innovation sector; 2 of them are professional (doctors, lawyers, teachers) and 3 of them are low skilled (waiters, clerks). This is because innovation sector workers are highly paid and have discretionary income to spend on local services. It is also because such workers increase the capacity of the firms they join, and the latter have a demand for local services (graphic designers, advertisers).

Globalization and technological progress are the two forces that have decimated manufacturing employment and boosted the innovation sector one. Those forces have caused the great divergence between cities. Today, you have three Americas. The thriving brain hubs with a well-educated labor force and a strong innovation sector (San Francisco, San Jose, Austin). At the other extreme you have declining cities, former manufacturing stars, with low skill residents with high unemployment rates (Detroit, Akron, Gary). The third category includes cities positioned in between the two who'se fate is uncertain.

Moretti indicates that the rewards for the leading innovators with new ideas have skyrocketed (Murray confirmed that in "Coming Apart"). This is again because of globalization and technological progress. A lucrative idea can be scaled worldwide and be worth $billions unlike in yesteryears.

Moretti's insight is that when it comes to job creation there is no contradiction between the interests of high income workers and low-income ones. Because of the mentioned job multiplier, innovation workers do create jobs for local workers at all skill levels. And, all those local jobs pay more than local ones in cities that are not innovation hubs. The average salary of high school graduates is a lot higher both in nominal term and as a % of college grads salaries within the cities with a high % of college graduates (table 1 & 2, pg. 94-95). In Ann Arbor, MI, with 46% of workers having a college degree the average salary of college graduates is $65,452. The average salary for high school graduates is pretty high too at $55,456. Meanwhile, in Bakersfield, CA, with only 14% of workers with college degree, the average salary of college graduates is about the same as in Ann Arbor. But, the respective salary of high school graduates is 37% lower at only $34,807. Thus, a low skilled high school graduate, instead of being at a competitive disadvantage, actually benefits from being around more highly skilled workers (college graduates).

Moretti concludes that one's earnings is dependent on where one lives. The earnings of a high school graduate rise by 7% as the share of college graduates in a city increases by 10% (fig. 4, pg 98). The reasons behind that are: 1) college graduate workers increase both their productivity and the ones of unskilled workers too; 2) a better-educated labor force facilitates the adoption of newer technologies; and 3) an increase in local human capital generates knowledge spillovers as people learn from each other.

Globalization affects different groups differently. More assembly jobs in China and more customer assistance jobs in India translates into more R&D jobs in the US and more jobs for the non R&D workers in the same localities due to the job multiplier. Per studies conducted by Dartmouth economist, Matthew Slaughter, for every job outsourced nearly 2 jobs are created in the US (pg. 70). And, those jobs are typically high skilled jobs (engineering, marketing, design).

When Moretti focuses on the current state of cities his work resembles Richard Florida's in Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life. While Florida disclosed tiered colored maps that all looked amazingly alike: a) US Mega-Regions, b) areas by % of college graduates, c) areas by income, d) areas by % belonging to the Creative Class, e) areas by home prices; Moretti discloses a similar set of maps: a) patents per capita, b) areas by % of college graduates, c) areas by change in % of college graduates, d) areas by male life expectancy, and e) educational level of immigrants. What is amazing is that all the tiered maps of Florida and Moretti look invariably the same. Economic and scientific activities, earnings, education, lifespan all thrive (or not) in almost exactly same regions. And, they translate into respectively higher or lower real estate prices.

When Moretti focuses on the fate of cities over time, his work resembles Charles Murray in Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010. Just like Murray, Moretti notices a widening divergence between thriving cities and desperate ones. Between 1980 and 2010, the divergence in human capital (% of college grads) has widened. Invariably, the cities with the rising human capital have experienced positive trends in social outcomes (divorce rates, voter turnouts, life expectancy). Meanwhile, the cities lacking human capital have experienced the opposite. Thus, where you live does affect both how much you earn and how long you live.

The sustainability of innovation hubs is sometimes predictable based on specific causal forces (the network effect). Those forces include: 1) thick labor markets with many jobs for specialized skilled labor; 2) the presence of specialized service providers that can support the needs of enterprises at every stage. The local access to venture capital has been the key to Silicon Valley's success; and 3) knowledge spillovers such as Microsoft and Google creating entire eco systems of successful start ups. Those three forces determine the location of innovative workers and companies and therefore shape the future of cities. Those forces explain the Great Divergence of the past thirty years. Timothy Noah ignored those in his really mediocre "The Great Divergence."

The network effect, also well analyzed by Richard Florida, contradicts Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" (supposedly people can innovate anywhere and just need internet access). Both, Florida and Moretti specifically mentioned Friedman's flatness as something that did not occur. Location is more important than ever due to the three forces mentioned above.

The start of innovation hubs is often due to one single individual starting or moving an anchor company in a specific location. This was the case with Silicon Valley that got started when William Shockley started Shockley Semiconductor in 1955 in Mountain View. Within just a few years it would generate off springs in the same area: Fairchild Semiconductor, National Semiconductor, and Intel. Similarly, Hollywood got started when D.W. Griffith, a dominant director, shot "The Birth of a Nation" there in 1915; this created the Hollywood movie industry. Seattle got started as an innovation hub when Bill Gates moved Microsoft from Albuquerque to Seattle in 1979.

The key to sustained success for innovation hubs is adaptation. Detroit was once an innovation hub founded on the auto industry. Rochester was another one founded on traditional photography. As the domestic auto industry was pummeled by superior foreign competitors and photography was killed by digital photography both Detroit and Rochester fell on hard times (Detroit desperately more than Rochester). This is because those innovation hubs were static. They did not adapt to the changing fate of their respective industries. By contrast, San Jose and San Francisco innovation hubs are constantly morphing to the cutting edge of technology.

Mobility is the key to leveraging human capital. Moretti indicates that the more educated one is, the more mobile one is. The unemployment rate (fig. 10, pg. 160) over the past 20 years is chronically much lower for college grads than for high school grads. And, the one for high school dropouts is a lot higher. Moretti states that the difference in mobility between education levels explain part of the difference in unemployment rates. The reduced mobility of the less educated is crippling as the fate of cities is diverging. The less educated remain stuck in towns with high unemployment while the educated readily move on to better opportunities.

Moretti's policy recommendations are all geared to increasing US human capital. They include boosting Government funding for research. Another recommendation is to boost high school graduation rates, that have remained stagnant since 1970, and high school math and science programs. This would increase college graduation rates which would increase the supply of college graduates and reduce income inequality. It would also increase the number of math and science degree holders (the foundation of innovation). Another recommendation is to adopt the immigration policies of Australia. Their human capital-based immigration policies are like hiring the best and the brightest worldwide. The US instead uses ineffective country specific quota system that does not factor human capital at all. The H-1b visa system lets in only the fraction of scientists we need. Moretti states "Our ability to absorb the world's talent is crucial advantage... but, it is constrained by an immigration policy that goes against our own economic interests."

Immigrants are why the US has a dominant position in many sciences and technology. Jerry Yang (Taiwan born) cofounder of Yahoo, and Sergey Brin (Russian-born) cofounder of Google are just a couple of examples. They both created thousands of high paying US jobs.

By comparison to Moretti's excellent recommendations, Noah's recommendations in his "Great Divergence" are painfully bad (increase government payroll, strengthen labor unions, increase protectionism).
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 4, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The American economy has been transitioning from an industrial to a knowledge-based economy. While this country has stopped making several types of goods that have become commodities they're cheaper to manufacture in countries where unskilled laborers' wages are lower than those prevalent here, it has the current lead in the origination of patents and the production of goods and services for the knowledge- and idea-based industries such as entertainment, software, and pharmaceuticals.

As a result of this transitioning, job seekers who are better educated are expected to have more opportunities available to them than those who are less educated. According to the book's author, however, because those opportunities currently tend to be clustered in a limited number of cities only, America's transitioning from old (industrial) to new (knowledge-based) economy is dividing the country into three opportunity zones: the few cities that are at the forefront of the new economy are currently and likely to continue thriving for years to come, those that have been devastated by the old economy are in danger of becoming ghost towns if they're not able to reverse their fortunes, and those currently not on either end of the opportunity spectrum have to work harder to lift their economy to the next level up.

According to the author's as well as other economists' research, a new economy-type job usually pays better than a manufacturing job, and the creation of a new economy-type job tends to produce other jobs that are high-paying (e.g., doctors) as well as lower-paying (e.g., waiters/waitresses). Cities that can build on their comparative advantage in select business sectors to create new economy-type jobs can obtain good payoffs for their investments.

City planners can entice the desired employer or worker type to relocate to their city. Mr. Moretti discusses what each of these two approaches entails, then provides evidence to support his views on the two approaches' efficacy. Additionally, Mr. Moretti thinks federal and local government leaders can work together to help cities with struggling economies improve their lot by:

a. Raising college graduation rates (i.e., increasing the pool of skilled workers)
b. Welcoming more highly-skilled immigrants
c. Helping unemployed lower-skilled workers relocate to other cities that have jobs for them via so-called "relocation vouchers"

I've heard of proposals (a) and (b) before. Although Mr. Moretti provides good arguments for (b), others who oppose it have their own counter-proposals.

Raising college graduation rates is a complex problem that will only get more difficult to tackle as college tuition continues to skyrocket. I thought the discussion provided for this proposal was rather short.

Proposal (c) is a relatively new idea, although as Mr. Moretti mentions in the book, the federal government already provides a limited relocation allowance as part of Trade Adjustment Assistance, an obscure federal aid program that helps workers who have lost their jobs as a result of foreign trade. According to Mr. Moretti, it is time to extend the allowance to include all workers receiving unemployment insurance. I think this proposal requires further discussion.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, and found Mr. Moretti's several other research findings interesting.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 28, 2012
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
"The New Geography of Jobs" by Enrico Moretti offers an insightful perspective on the American economy. Presenting original research and analysis, Mr. Moretti explains why individual worker's fortunes have diverged somce the 1980s and recommends how we might lift up those who have been left behind. Mr. Moretti's timely and persuasive book is sure to appeal to economists, policy makers and general interest readers alike.

Mr. Moretti defines the 'innovation industries' as companies that depend on human ingenuity auch as software, pharmaceuticals and motion pictures. Although the end product may be costly to develop, once the first copy has been made it can be replicated inexpensively; thus generating enormous profits. In an argument not unlike the one found in Robert Reich's classic The Work of Nations, Mr. Moretti contends that the people and support infrastructures that surround innovation industries amount to a kind of 'non-tradable' industrial zone in the sense that these communities can not be easily moved or replicated elsewhere. Consequently, those metropolitan areas that can attract the kind of human capital capable of producing innovative and marketable ideas will prosper; while others that are dependent on more easily-replicable manufacturing industries will inevitably see their standards of living decline.

Throughout the book, Mr. Moretti does an excellent job of illustrating key concepts through case studies. For example, Mr. Moretti compares and contrasts Albuquerque with Seattle to discuss how service sector workers benefit through an increase in both the number of jobs and higher wages when high-value technology industries take root but remain stagnant when critical mass is not achieved. Mr. Moretti helpfully defines arcane economic jargon such as 'forces of agglomeration' and 'thick markets' to explain why some cities continue to attract specialized industries and knowledge workers despite having significantly higher costs of living compared to other places. In this manner, Mr. Moretti succeeds in making this discussion highly accessible to the average person.

As an Italian immigrant, Mr. Moretti has perspective on what we must do to ensure a more prosperous future in this country. Mr. Moretti thinks we should allow entry to more highly-educated immigrants due to the demonstrated effect of innovation with job creation. Mr. Moretti also encourages us to vastly improve our primary education system especially with respect to math and science. With hundreds of pages of thoughtful and well-documented discussion, it is difficult not to agree with the author that a better educated workforce might result lead to a brighter future for everyone.

I highly recommend this outstanding book to everyone.
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44 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2013
The New Geography of Jobs is what media pundits like to call a 'fluff piece' because it highlights all of the happy fuzzy details while glossing over the particularly bad ones.

Enrico Moretti indeed does look at the good side of the 'New Geography of Jobs' namely the only ones that are incapable of being out-sourced which are the goods and services purchased by the upper-middle and upper-class. In his list of jobs incapable of being outsourced he listed House-keeping and personal-chef, as if those are goods or services that everyone can afford.

He also talks about the Innovation Jobs and says they will be the 'New American Economic Engine' and even insults the Presidents top economic adviser for daring to say that the US should continue to manufacture 'stuff' as only a true IT insider would, because people who manufacture 'stuff' are the butt-end of an ongoing joke that IT people have against blue-collar folk. He makes broad statements about how IT jobs create FIVE non-IT jobs while Manufacturing jobs only create 1.5 non-manufacturing jobs.

However, Enrico quite DELIBERATELY glosses over the facts of the Free Trade agreements that the US signed with China and Mexico that is the REASON why US jobs were sent there in the first place. Economists have this 'idea' of comparative advantage, except for the fact that it has NEVER BEEN TESTED. They are using the United States as a testing ground for Ph.D ideas and intellectuals such as Enrico Morette continue to act as if it is business as usual.

He completely ignores the fact that President NIXON was the one who signed the Free Trade agreements with China, President Clinton signed a Free Trade agreement with Mexico and BOTH Presidents were IMPEACHED!

I have years of experience in both the IT industry and real estate and what he says about location is true, but Enrico Moretti leaves HUGE chunks of information out of the equation while 'fluffing' the IT industry over and over on page after page. On page after page he attacks blue-collar workers over and over for such reasons as 'having a higher divorce rate.'

In the 'Human Capital Century' Enrico pushes 'Education' over and over on page after page, except for the fact the once again he glosses over the FACTS. How about this for instance? FACT: The largest percentage of unemployed people in the United States are Well Educated Males between the ages of 25 -40.

In part of Enrico's book he highlights how the 'average Microsoft employee makes over $120,000 per year, this include secretaries and janitors.' Except if he knew the FIRST THING about Microsoft he would KNOW that Microsoft uses OUTSIDE AGENCIES to employ their Janitors and Secretaries. So they ARE NOT MICROSOFT EMPLOYEES. I honestly don't know if he's being willfully ignorant or simply has no idea how large corporations in San Jose are structured. Most of the big companies around here only 'employ' the super-stars, those who make over $100,000 while the rest of the employees are working for subsidiaries or Agency's. None of know the reasons for this, but Enrico should have either done his homework or known this fact.

There are So many glaring errors in 'The New Geography of Jobs' that I simply cannot go into all of them. I am sad that this book has such 'rave reviews' because he doesn't really tell you anything at all. Enrico's basic message is this, "Seatle is Great, San Jose is Great, every city in the US that is making it is Great, if your city isn't making it, then it's because you didn't attract enough jobs because you suck."

He doesn't offer any real solutions, he doesn't highlight SPECIFIC jobs or ways of getting a better job, and let me tell you, San Jose is a tough town. I've seen entire SECTORS of jobs here go from $100k to outsourced in a few years, with no notice. Thousands of employees with Niche experience and degrees obsolete overnight, but Enrico doesn't even mention that fact.

I expected this book to be a nuts and bolts about what is really happening in the economy, instead he gives us 'IT is Great, IT is Great, IT iiiiiisss GREAAAT!' 'Manufacturing BOOO! As he repeats the same message over and over and lightly sprinkles it with informative support while COMPLETELY IGNORING the Political Subtext of how and why we are where we are, or even where we are going as a nation.

In short, Enrico Moretti is writing his book with rose-colored glasses on and his book is based on the opinions of the top IT-industry insiders, but he has no idea what it's really like for the boots-on-the-ground people, basically he misses the forest for the trees. He doesn't talk about Unions (the real reason California has higher incomes) and he basis his opinions on the facts but has no fundamental understanding of the facts themselves.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you live in the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Durham, D.C., or Austin, very little of Enrico Moretti's analyses will be a surprise. This is not to say you might not learn new individual facts (that engineering and innovation-based jobs create 5 jobs for non-innovators in the local regional area, or that the video game industry now generates more revenue than Hollywood and the music industries combined), but Moretti's overall conclusions about the impact of globalization and the information economy will not come as a surprise.

If you live in a city like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis or St. Louis, Moretti's conclusions will not come as welcome news for the future.

And if you live, like I do, in a region that lies somewhere between Moretti's "innovation hubs" (San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, etc.) and the cities whose heyday was in the 2nd half of last century (Detroit, Cleveland, etc.), Moretti's analyses will be provocative and a bit troublesome.

Analyzing data and other research studies stretching back to the 1940s, Moretti has concluded a great deal about the current state and future of the American economic landscape, much of it sobering indeed. The crux of his analyses and conclusions are:

1. Since 1978, job creation and economic well-being has increasingly concentrated into approximately a dozen metropolitan areas in America (his "innovation hubs")

2. These metropolitan areas are centers of industries that rely upon science, mathematics, and engineering innovation and creativity (computer science, financials, medicinal products such as drugs, biologics and hi-tech devices, software, cutting-edge technology, etc.)

3. These industries require well-educated workers skilled in these areas, and have the best chance to find them in these innovation hubs

4. Not coincidentally, college-educated people, and particularly those with degrees in some form of mathematics, science, or engineering, have a vastly better chance to find a job in an innovation hub than elsewhere in the US

5. A job in an innovation hub region will earn at least 40% more than anywhere else in the world

6. Therefore, these dozen innovation hubs are increasingly attracting the best and the brightest from all over the US and the world

7. This aggregation of talent and business in the innovation hubs will only continue, leaving less and less for the rest of us

8. For the moment, we have a three tiered economic landscape in the US: at the top, the innovation hubs and the people who live/work there; at the bottom, the old manufacturing-based cities; and in the middle, all the rest of us - and over time, because this aggregation will continue, sitting in the middle will become less and less viable.

Moretti also delves into analyzing possible remedies, including what will not work and why given the data. This latter part, especially as it debunked a number of my personal beliefs and assumptions, I found particularly well-done. And how often can you admire someone for so effectively demolishing your own position and opinions?

Some examples:

1. Higher education as a panacea for a particular region outside the innovation hubs is, at best, a gamble unless we change policies to encourage college graduates to stay and innovate locally.

The challenge, Moretti points out, is that pushing more college graduates today will only speed the departure of these graduates to the innovation hubs. Frankly, I'd always thought that more college graduates was a good thing. Moretti's data shows that it can be, but ONLY if they stay in the region; otherwise, the state and the local economy pay (approximately $102,000) to push a person through college who then promptly takes him/herself off to an innovation hub, providing that hub with the economic benefit of the college degree (more than $1M). In essence, the innovation hub gets all the benefit ($1+ million) while the original region just gets the bill ($102K).

Thus, from a ROI viewpoint, Moretti notes that immigration policies ought to encourage immigration to the US by engineers and scientists because other countries get stuck with the bill while we in the US get all the benefits.

2. Regional investment in trying to create high-tech innovation centers is a long-term venture capitalist gamble that will only work once self-sustaining momentum kicks in.

Moretti reviews the data of regions providing tax breaks, innovation grants, etc., and uncovers that encouraging innovative companies that might otherwise go to the innovation hubs to settle elsewhere can ONLY pay off if there is enough long-term investment by the region across the innovation spectrum to allow a self-sustaining momentum to be generated in the region. Ironically, one of the companies he cites in his data sets, our town had direct experience with - and Moretti is right. When the innovation-based company discovers that they cannot get the highly skilled and educated workers they need in the local area, their business costs go up across the board, and suddenly, the tax breaks and innovation grants only take the edge off the increased cost of doing business outside an innovation hub.

In other words, for a region to generate the type of high-wage jobs that arise naturally in the innovation hubs today, a region must spend a lot of money over a long period of time. Moretti likens it to playing venture capitalist. Only 1 out of 50 will succeed.

As you follow Moretti's logic throughout this book, and look at all the data points and the many tables and graphs, it's hard to argue with his analyses or his conclusions.

And, from what I could tell, Moretti has no particular axe to grind. There is no set of liberal/conservative blinders so commonly infecting books these days on the current state of the US. Moretti has given us a reasoned and well thought-out set of analyses, facts and conclusions that push past shrill shouting to start a mature conversation.

I recommend this book for anyone in the US with a concern for our economy, employment and the middle class over the next 10-20 years.

As such, I'd like to see it as required reading for every politician, regional economic development director, college president, and CEO in the US today.

While only time will tell if Moretti is completely accurate, I'm willing to bet that he's close enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 24, 2014
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book by an enterprising young economist restates, in my view, what is already pretty well understood: manufacturing jobs have dried up and left behind wrecked and deserted communities in the American heartland, while good information technology jobs have gravitated toward the coasts. As I read it, Moretti takes a fairly optimistic view of this situation: tech entrepreneurship has led to the rise of affluent cities with high standards of living that attract immigrants who add value to the economy in the long run. The view from the West Coast is rosy indeed.

What I missed, however, was some deeper understanding of the social strains emerging within this increasing bifurcated society; he rather blithely suggests that depressed areas of the country need to "adapt" to the IT economy, but doesn't really seem to appreciate the death-spiral that many rust belt areas find themselves in: disinvestment leads to job losses, leads to capital (and knowledge) flight, leads to increasing disinvestment, etc. Some areas can't adapt if they can't find ways of attracting businesses or talented personnel to relocate there. If asked to take his pick, I bet Moretti would choose San Francisco over Detroit any day regardless of the financial incentives offered.

The book is quite valuable in charting the shift from manufacturing to IT. Yet, to be charitable, Moretti champions the winners of the new IT economy without really reckoning with the fact that not everyone is going to be able to join his splendid bi-coastal dream world. And, indeed, he doesn't really reckon with the potential weaknesses within the IT economy itself (increasing competition from China, for example). Moretti's book will validate the self-esteem of those in the IT world but doesn't have much to say to those who can't make for the coast aboard the IT Express: I found it more a work of boosterism than analysis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2014
We bought this book about a year ago. If the theory proposed were accurate, Silicon Valley would have the lowest unemployment in America. As of the time of this review, SiliconValleyCF.org finds that their local rate is 5.8% while the national unemployment rate is 5.9%. Hardly the outcome predicted by Moretti.

I found his writing to be easy to follow. His ability to tell stories is quite good compared to other economist and national commentators. I expect this will not be his last book.

However, I found myself yelling at the book as I read it. The willfulness with which the author overlooked reality was astounding. He must have been wearing academic blinders when he did his research. The selectiveness with which he compiled his data must have caused terrible delays in the production of this work. There is just too much academic and governmental research which contradicts his assertions. I would refer any studious individuals to the Bureau of Labor for quality statistics and compare them to what Moretti states if you choose to buy this book.

For myself, I am glad we bought the book, and I used it as a sounding board to make up my own mind. The lessons learned from this exercise have helped shape the strategic decisions I have made in my business.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very thought provoking book. Moretti examines recent and emerging spatial trends in employment and breaks them down into real world meaning and how it impacts all of us. Certain sectors of employment are growing and others aren't, but the degree to which they are changing varies by location as much as by sector. The author looks at technological clusters as incubators for spin off and support sector growth as well as for the main employment field, and recognizes that growing sectors attract similar activities as well as multiplier jobs. In other words, biotech growth attracts additional biotech companies to the area, as well as spin off employment -not just retail and food service spin off, but also construction, medical and professional services- and where the growth in these centers collects, the wages tend to be higher as well. But, as he points out, the growth in these fields are not uniform across the new America. As some hubs or clusters attract similar business and support industries, other areas are losing out as opportunities move to the cluster areas. This is just a partial description and light synopsis, as Moretti examines industrial changes and policy decisions as well, as he analyses the geography of jobs. This would be a good book for university students as well as anyone considering a change in location, and looking for a big picture perspective of the emerging national job market.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Essentially the book discusses how there are certain innovation hubs(cities) where jobs are thriving and the rest of the country is struggling. I found the book to be somewhat interesting, but not truly original or saying much that I haven't read elsewhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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I've always said that where you live makes a difference; too many people try to dismiss geography with, "If you don't like where you are, you'll be miserable anywhere."

Moretti presents a thoroughly researched picture of the way jobs are distributed in the US. His conclusions are striking. Jobs in the innovation sector fuel growth for all categories of jobs, including lower-paying jobs in restaurants and stores. A college graduate enjoys a significant salary differential everywhere, especially in the booming communities.

Ultimately I can't help wondering where this takes us; what are the implications for future people and careers. My own belief is that we're going to have to learn some self-sufficiency. We'll need to become entrepreneurial, whether we want to or not, because there just won't be enough jobs for all.

Moretti refers to ongoing sourcing of jobs; these days even tasks that were once assigned to professionals are shipped overseas or performed by computers. It's not clear what this means for us and what will happen when overseas economies start to catch up.

Required reading for all.
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