-- "This year’s survey of the best cities for jobs
contains one particularly promising piece of news: the revival of the country’s long distressed industrial sector and those regions most dependent on it. Manufacturing has grown consistently over the past 21 months, and now, for the first time in years, according to data mined by Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, manufacturing regions are beginning to move up on our list of best cities for jobs.
The fastest-growing industrial areas include four long-suffering Rust Belt cities Anderson, Ind. (No. 4), Youngstown, Ohio (No. 5), Lansing, Mich. (No. 9) and Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (No. 10). The growth in these and other industrial areas influenced, often dramatically, their overall job rankings. Elkhart, for example, rose 137 places, on our best cities for jobs list; and Lansing moved up 155. Other industrial areas showing huge gains include Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich., up 242 places, Holland-Grand Haven, Mich., (up 172), Grand Rapids, Mich., (up 167) Kokomo Ind., (up 177) ; and Sandusky, Ohio, (up 128).
One big driver of industrial growth has come from the source of so much pain in the past: the auto industry. Although production remains 25% below its 2007 peak, the industry, which accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s industrial output, is on the rebound. Ford Motor is achieving its best profits in over a decade, and both Chrysler and General Motors are officially in the black.
Long-depressed industry center Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich., topped our list of manufacturing job-creators, with an impressive 8.2% increase. Second place went to the Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn area, which experienced 3.5% growth."
The chart above helps tell the story of manufacturing's comeback this year. Compared to the overall real growth rate of the U.S. economy during the first quarter of 2011 at 1.8%, the manufacturing sector is growing at 9%, or five times faster than the overall economy (based on the annual growth rate of Industrial Production: Manufacturing
series from the Federal Reserve).