By Ted Dabrowski
Chicago’s Loop might be hot, but city politicians will want to look at two big cities down South to see what real job creation looks like.
Austin and Nashville led the Wall Street Journal’s survey of the nation’s hottest job markets in 2020. The two southern capitals led the nation with the hottest job markets out of the 53 metro areas with a population of 1 million or more.
Chicago, in contrast, ranked 45th.
The WSJ rankings were based on Moody’s Analytics data composed of five factors: metro-area unemployment rate, labor-force participation, job growth, labor force growth and wage growth.
Unfortunately, the Windy City just isn’t competitive. Chicago’s best ranking was 29th for labor-force participation. And it ranked 40th for wage growth and 46th for labor force growth.
In contrast, top-ranked Austin ranked 5th for low unemployment, 9th highest for job growth and 3rd out all metro areas for wage growth. Even the area’s lowest ranking, labor-force growth, was still in the top third of the rankings.
2nd-place Nashville was ranked even higher than Austin in some metrics. It had the lowest unemployment rate of any metro area in the nation at 2.6 percent. It was also 2nd in labor-force growth and 4th in labor-force participation. The city’s only poor metric was wage growth, where it ranked 31st.
Chicago politicians say they want more jobs, higher pay and greater labor participation in the Windy City. But if they do, they’ll want to think about how to become more competitive.
Chicago is being out-hustled by cities hungry for investment, capital and people. Cities like Austin, Nashville and Denver understand the game of competition. That’s how you grow the labor force and increase pay. Keep regulations limited. Encourage entrepreneurship. Make owning a small business easier.
That’s a lesson Chicago hasn’t learned.
Instead, Chicago politicians keep thinking they can make the city prosperous via government fiat. The city’s minimum wage hike. The call for a LaSalle street tax. The proposed progressive real estate transfer tax. And a new budget with a host of new taxes on ride sharing, online entertainment, e-cigarettes, utilities, permits and more.
It’s clearly not working.
Read more about Chicago’s many problems:
- Expect property tax hikes to hit Chicago’s stagnant home prices hard
- “Wealthy” Chicago households on the hook for up to $2 million in debt each under progressive approach to pension crisis
- Lightfoot’s budget won’t stop Chicago’s downward spiral
- Opportunity zones floundering in Chicago. No Surprise.
- Chicago doubling down on dangerous ‘securitized bonds’ – Crains