“These patterns indicate a “high-road” economic development strategy that prioritizes both high-skilled, innovative sectors like technology and middle-skill traded sectors like manufacturing and logistics can facilitate inclusive growth. This balance may not be easy, as the number of places that accomplished it suggests. But the strategy also takes patience. The lower-skilled, lower-paid jobs generated in hospitality and retail were the last to return during this period of the recovery from the Great Recession, while better paid sectors rebounded more quickly. Often, it was only after hiring in low-paid sectors accelerated that real improvements on inclusion outcomes materialized. So metropolitan areas that continue to follow this path may join the list of economies achieving inclusive growth in the near future.
“To be sure, places that achieved inclusive growth were not always the strongest performers on the measures that the Metro Monitor tracks. In contrast to high fliers like Denver and Austin, Albany performed below the metropolitan average in most indicators of growth, prosperity, and inclusion. Yet it still managed to make consistent progress from its baseline, suggesting that a metro area’s economic starting point does not preclude it from achieving near-term inclusive economic growth.”