NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Midwest On Economic Rebound

February 16, 1999

After suffering high unemployment and weak growth for decades, industrial midwestern states are making a comeback, according to new Census Bureau report. Once subject to population declines as unemployed workers flocked to Sunbelt states, midwestern towns and cities are holding their own -- and some are even growing.

  • Average pay in the region rose from $32,788 to $35,072 in the two-year period from 1994 to 1996.
  • During that period, 120,000 new jobs were created in the region.
  • Experts say that factors in the turnaround included improvement in the national economy as a whole, Michigan's decision to diversify beyond automaking, and local growth strategies pushed by businesses, residents and political leaders.
  • Another important factor has been a shift from goods- producing industries to service-based businesses.

The mix of service jobs and a revamped manufacturing base enabled the Midwest to withstand economic battering in the early 1990s that left the Northeast and California reeling, according to Paula Duggan, an analyst with the Northeast Midwest Institute.

Source: Staff and wire reports, "Midwest's Economy Doing a Turnaround," USA Today, February 16, 1999.


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