Report: Chicago's economy improving faster than other major cities

July 19, 2012

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According to a new report, Chicago's had the largest decline in unemployment in the last year among the top ten metro areas in the nation. The report comes from Austan Goolsbee, the University of Chicago professor and one of President Obama's former economic advisors. Other cities on the list include New York City, Phoenix and Houston. Goolsbee says Chicago is in step with the rest of the economy bouncing back, but we also have diversification of industry on our side. In cities like San Jose, for example, the job market is more focused on a few industries, such as high tech.

The economist says that improvements in the manufacturing sector could be one source of new jobs, and that foreign investment in U.S. companies is also increasing. Goolsbee does concede that even with these positive trends, unemployment is still high. He says the biggest priority to ensure Chicago's economic success is investment in education and development of workers.

Coming off his time in the Obama administration-and as we approach the 2012 election-the economist wasn't confident that compromise would overcome politics as the conversation continues about the country's fiscal future. Goolsbee says his time at the University of Chicago-where he was regularly part of an open and encouraged dialogue about conflicting views-differed from his time in Washington where political battles were the norm.

Goolsbee joined Steve Edwards on Afternoon Shift to reflect on how Chicago and the country's economy can bounce back.