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No Job Growth for Trump Voters

The blue coasts are where the jobs are, not in red Middle America

Brian Young's picture
Nov 19, 2018

Whenever Trump talks about the economy, he points to two things that indicate that the economy is going strong: record low unemployment and the rising stock market. While the low unemployment is good for workers, many know that this is an unfair representation of the workforce as many people are still working multiple jobs and wages have failed to rise following the 2008 recession. Now a new Brookings Institute study finds that of the jobs that did come back following the recession, many were concentrated in just a few cities.

The study found that cities like San Francisco, Boston, and New York accounted for 72% of the job growth since 2008. As these cities brought in more and more jobs, rural communities are actually still below pre-recession levels. Many of these communities in rural and smaller cities voted for Trump in the 2016 election, partly because of this factor, yet over the last two years the trend has continued.

“As a result, few can now deny that the geography of America’s current economic order has brought economic and social cleavages that have spawned frightening externalities: entrenched poverty, “deaths of despair,”and deepening small-town resentment of coastal cosmopolitan elites” said the authors of the study.

With the growth of these “urban hubs” a divide is occurring in the country where people in cities like New York are doing well while more rural areas suffer. Brookings warns that while many economists say that these communities will eventually catch up with the rest of the country, the reality is that they simply haven’t. They also warn that this economic divide is partially what led rural America to vote for Trump in 2016.

If elected officials want to see economic growth that helps everyone, they offer a few suggestions, these include:

  • Boost the digital skills of left behind places.
  • Ensure businesses in lagging regions have access to capital.
  • Reduce gaps in broadband.
  • Identify “growth poles” that can support regional growth.
  • Help Americans move to opportunity.

Unfortunately, with Trump’s inability to get anything done in Congress, expect tax cuts for the top 1%, it is unlikely that these Trump voters will see any relief in the coming two years.

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