The New And Improved Geography Of Jobs

October 20, 2014

By: Jeff Marcell, Senior Partner and John Karras, Consultant, TIP Strategies


We hope you will take a moment to check out our “new and improved” Geography of Jobs. In our updated version, we’ve included 372 metros* and extended the timeline back to 1999. As in the previous version, each bubble shows the net change in employment in a given metro area compared to the same period one year earlier. The diameter of each bubble reflects the size of the loss or gain. But, unlike the original Geography of Jobs, you can now place your cursor over any of the metros and watch the actual job numbers change over time . If you press the pause button, you can also move your cursor over any metro and compare actual job losses or gains at any point in the timeline. Another “behind the scenes” feature is our ability to map new datasets, such as job change by sector.

At TIP Strategies, we are always looking for ways to translate data into insights about economic development. We hope you will help us with this task by providing feedback and sharing your insights at the end of this blog post.

Map highlights:

  • The Great Recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, but the job losses spanned a longer timeframe, beginning early in 2007 and extending well into 2010. Some regions were hit harder than others, some were hit earlier, and some took longer to recover, but no corner of the US was spared.

  • The Dot-Com Bubble was marked by rapid job growth in some of the country’s leading high-tech regions (Silicon Valley, Boston, Seattle, Austin) in 1999 and 2000. You can then see these same regions losing lots of jobs from 2001 to 2003 during the Dot-Com bust and subsequent recession. Silicon Valley actually continued losing jobs into 2004, even while the rest of the country had come out of the recession and was gaining jobs.

  • The Housing Bubble, following the relatively mild recession that began in 2001, led to unprecedented job growth across the country. Buoyed by easy money (i.e., subprime mortgages), housing supported strong job growth in places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Southern Florida. You will also see that these same places were the first to begin losing jobs as the housing market collapsed, starting in 2007.

  • Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans in late July 2005, a disaster that had an immediate and lingering impact on jobs in the region. However, you will notice that metros in the periphery, most notably Baton Rouge, actually saw a significant uptick in jobs during that time due to temporary (and perhaps permanent for many) outmigration from New Orleans.

  • Watching the Midwestern US, especially the manufacturing-centric states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, reveals that many of the metro areas in these states never enjoyed the economic growth experienced by most of the country from 2003 to 2006. Red bubbles cover much of the area surrounding Detroit from 2002 all the way until the end of the Great Recession in 2010. However, the employment situation in the Midwest has taken a turn for the better in recent years thanks to the recovery of the US automotive industry beginning in 2010.



We are excited about the upgrades to the Geography of Jobs and hope you find it useful. And we would love to hear from you. Please take a moment to share your comments on how the tool did (or did not) provide any insights about your community, any regional or national trends of significance, and other datasets we should consider mapping.

Thanks for viewing.

*NOTE: Map includes the 372 MSAs for which data are available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Best Map Ever Made Of America’s Racial Segregation

October 17, 2014

By: Kyle Vanhemert
Via: Wired


Last year, a pair of researchers from Duke University published a report with a bold title: “The End of the Segregated Century.” U.S. cities, the authors concluded, were less segregated in 2012 than they had been at any point since 1910. But less segregated does not necessarily mean integrated–something this incredible map makes clear in vivd color.

The map, created by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, is stunningly comprehensive. Drawing on data from the 2010 U.S. Census, it shows one dot per person, color-coded by race. That’s 308,745,538 dots in all–around 7 GB of visual data. It isn’t the first map to show the country’s ethnic distribution, nor is it the first to show every single citizen, but it is the first to do both, making it the most comprehensive map of race in America ever created.

White people are shown with blue dots; African-Americans with green; Asians with red; and Latinos with orange, with all other race categories from the Census represented by brown. Since the dots are smaller than pixels at most zoom levels, Cable assigned shades of color based on the multiple dots therein. From a distance, for example, certain neighborhoods will look purple, but zooming-in reveals a finer-grained breakdown of red and blue–or, really, black and white.

“There are a lot of moving parts in this process, so this can cause different shades of color to appear at different zoom levels in really dense areas, like you see in NYC,” Cable explains. “I played around with dot size and transparency for a while and settled on the current scheme as being adequate.” You can read more about Cable’s methodology here, but it comes down to this: When you’re dealing with 300 million dots at varying levels of zoom, getting the presentation just right is as much an art as a science.

Looking at the map, every city tells a different story. In California, for example, major cities aren’t just diverse, they’re integrated to a great degree, too. We see large swaths of Sacramento dotted variously with reds, blues, oranges, greens and browns. Los Angeles is more distinctly clustered, but groups still bleed into one another.

In the Midwest, though, the racial divide can be shockingly exact. In Chicago, bands of whites, blacks, and Latinos radiate out from the city center like sun beams. In St. Louis, a buffer of a few blocks separates a vast area of largely black citizens from another of white and Asian ones. In Detroit, the most segregated city in America according to one recent study, there’s no buffer at all. We see how 8 Mile Road serves as the dividing line between two largely homogenous swaths–one predominantly white and one predominantly black.

Looking at the Southeast, a wide, faint band of green represents the Black Belt, a region originally named for the dark soil in Alabama and Mississippi that eventually came to describe the greater region shaped by plantation agriculture. And while the West looks awfully barren, the density of cities like Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston gives us a sense of why those states are actually so populous.

Responding to the Duke University study last year, experts were quick to expound on the complexities of the issue. Housing desegregation, one pointed out, is not a magic bullet for equal opportunity. Another made clear that blacks remained more segregated from whites than Latinos or Asians. Here, at least, Cable’s given us a chance to see how things stand today in greater detail than ever before.

Check out the full, interactive map for yourself here.

Newport County, RI Selects TIP To Prepare New Economic Development Initiative


By: Jeff Marcell, Senior Partner and John Karras, Consultant, TIP Strategies

Newport, RI by US Naval War College via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

TIP Strategies has been engaged to create a Regional Economic Development Framework & Five-Year Strategic plan for Newport County, Rhode Island. The primary goal of this effort is to create a new county-wide economic development organization. TIP will lead this project in partnership with the Newport County Development Council and the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to creating a new organization to promote economic development across the county, this project will provide strategic direction on how the community can leverage some of its strongest assets, which include: the U.S. Naval Station, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the abundance of waterways and coastlines, and proximity to the major metro areas of Boston and New York. Throughout this project, TIP will tap into its expertise in economic development strategic planning and in creating/managing economic development organizations.

The City Of Fort Collins Hires TIP To Update Their Economic Health Strategic Plan


By: Caroline Alexander, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies

Image credit: Old Town Car Shoy by Charles Willgren via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The City of Fort Collins is re-examining the TIP-prepared 2011 Economic Health Strategic Plan to align the plan with the city’s sustainability focus and to update the plan in light of current economic conditions. The city has engaged TIP Strategies to assist in refining the plan and identifying meaningful metrics to measure progress and impact. The project will entail a review of the city’s social and environmental sustainability initiatives to identify ways to marry them with the city’s economic health goals and strategic initiatives. The result will be a plan that is more integrated with the city’s new organizational structure and more reflective of the post-recession economy.

TIP Strategies At The Summit Of Western Europe

October 16, 2014

By: Jeff Marcell, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies


When TIP Strategies’ senior partner, Jeff Marcell, isn’t leading high-profile strategic planning efforts for communities around the country, he’s climbing mountains. In August of this year, Jeff summited Mont Blanc in the Alps. At 15,780 feet it’s the highest peak in Western Europe. Jeff is an avid mountain climber with successful summits of over a dozen peaks including Mt Rainier WA, the Grand Teton WY, and Denali AK.

After his epic climb, Jeff sent the TIP team this shot. Proving that economic development isn’t far from his mind, even amidst such staggering beauty, Jeff, frozen but triumphant, marked the summit with a TIP Strategies flag.

Vista 2025 Report Has Important Messages For Us


Via: Daily Local News


There are some very important messages coming out of a recent report from the Vista 2025 partnership plan and they are: don’t take anything for granted, don’t rest on your laurels and don’t assume that what worked yesterday is going to work tomorrow.

But fear not, all is not gloom and doom. Chester County apparently is in a unique position, one of which not many areas around the country enjoy like we do.

And according to the recent report, economic growth for Chester County is as dependent on preserving natural beauty as encouraging business growth.

The Vista 2025 partnership plan between the Chester County Economic Development Council and Chester County will help keep the county growing going forward, said Tom Filippo, co-chairman of the Vista 2025 Executive Alliance.

Business and community groups were interviewed to develop goals with the assistance of TIP Strategies of Austin, Texas. The plan released Tuesday at a meeting at Penn State Great Valley suggested goals and strategies for officials to consult over the next 10 years.

Jon Roberts, the principal at TIP, said the level of diversification of the economy in Chester County was unique in the United States, and has helped it weather economic problems better. He said, however, that officials cannot take that position for granted. Developing an economy was not just about job growth, but what kinds of jobs.

There was a chance of “getting this wrong” if the county followed a natural tendency of riding past success, and not stay alert to what got it there. That is probably the most important statement to come out of the report.

Roberts warned that the changes to the national economy from the last recession have changed some of the rules for communities to be economically successful. Not every current successful suburban area will be successful going forward, he said.

While county government has to continue to support Chester County as an attractive place to work, to live, and to raise children, it also has to continue to make Chester County a place that people want to come to, said Roberts.

Agreed. And that’s where many cities and towns have fallen down making the fatal error of not continuing to look forward.

For example, he warned that some parts of the United States are finding that office parks that were once successful are being abandoned by companies because employees find them too sterile and too difficult to get to.

To counter that, communities are starting to look at redeveloping office parks into multiple use areas, he said.

One thing that Chester County should do is to engage young people in both business creation and civic affairs, said Roberts.

The Vista 2025 plan is a continuation of planning for development off Chester County’s Landscape proposals. Those plans have emphasized preserving open space and encouraging development and redevelopment in the county’s urban areas.

But finding the perfect balance is the toughest part of the equation. And certainly the “looking forward” part isn’t easy. If it was we would never have suffered through any recession.

But this report offers hope and confidence that Chester County is headed in the right direction.

And for the half-million people who live here in Chester County that’s something to be proud of.