Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Grand Rapids, Detroit among Inner Cities Rapidly Losing Jobs

Media Mouse is reporting the results of a Harvard study on job losses in an article entitled Grand Rapids, Detroit among Inner Cities Rapidly Losing Jobs

"...nearly half of the country's 82 largest municipalities lost jobs from 1995 to 2003, while only one of the surrounding metropolitan areas surveyed lost jobs during the same period. Of the forty municipalities that lost jobs, Grand Rapids and Detroit were among the worst with the most jobs lost.

While the numbers provided in the study are useful, it is important to also consider that it comes from Harvard University's Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a research group advocating free-market policies as a way of improving the inner city. The Initiative's chair, Harvard business professor Michael Porter, advocates limiting the role of government programs and argues that tax incentives and deregulation will provide substantial improvements to the inner city. Porter has largely dismissed government programs creating jobs, providing job skill training, and designating some cities as redevelopment districts. Instead of providing one-time grants for projects, Porter and the Initiative see the shift towards tax incentives instead of grants as a positive policy shift, with Porter arguing that "you can give somebody a one-time grant, but if you can cut their taxes each and every year, that’s serious coin, potentially." However, the conclusion is based on theory rather than hard facts as the Department of Housing and Urban Development does not currently track the data necessary to measure the overall effectiveness of its tax incentive programs."

In a related article,the Mouse delivers: 26 companies and industries have been reported as exporting jobs within a 100 mile radius of ZIP code 49501. That's Grand Rapids, baby.

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