Last Updated May 13, 2010 7:44 AM EDT
Economist Mike Mandel has sifted through the data and found something surprising. When he calculated gains in real-per capita income for all metro areas over the last business cycle (2001-2008), which came out on top?
- Houma-Bayou Cane- Thibodaux, LA
- Jacksonville, NC
- Manhattan, KS
- Farmington, NM
- Fayetteville, NC
- Killenn-Temple-Ft Hood, TX
- Lawton, OK
- Odessa, TX
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Greely, CO
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Flint, MI
- Atlanta- Sandy Springs- Marietta, GA
- Raleigh-Cary, NC
- Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX
The big gains in the #1-ranked Houma region are mainly connected with the increase in oil drilling, since BLS data shows that wages in the mining/oil industry in Terrebonne Parish, where Houma is located, soared from $58K a year to $78K from 2005 to 2008. #2 Jacksonville (NC) is the location of Camp Lejeune. Fayetteville (NC). #5 Fayettville (NC) is home to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the world. #6 Killeen is obviously home to Fort Hood. #8 Odessa, Texas, is riding the oil boom.His headline point: "Brains and education did not seem to count too much in success in the last business cycle." It's a conclusion that's sure to add fuel to burning question of whether a hugely expensive college education is worth it or whether our education system needs a rethink. That is if his ideas stand up to scrutiny. Do you think Mandel's argument makes sense?
For more specific numbers check out Mandel's thought-provoking post, where he also speculates on why the much-touted creative class cities failed to deliver the dollars to workers.