WBEZ | City Journal http://www.wbez.org/tags/city-journal Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Is Chicago a second-rate city? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/chicago-second-rate-city-100211 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5391670328_f8d6f4fdeb_z.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="(Flickr/Edward Wade)" /></p><p><strong>- Is Chicago a second-rate city?</strong></p><p>That&#39;s a question urban analyst Aaron Renn asked in an <a href="http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_2_chicago.html">article</a> published in the <em>City Journal</em> that many are calling &quot;sobering.&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbanophile.com/bio/">Renn</a>, who lived in Chicago for 20 years, basically slams Chicago for its obsession with calling itself a &quot;global city,&quot; saying that will not cure the city&#39;s <a href="http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/17661">deep poverty</a>, <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html">declining population</a>, <a href="http://chicagoloopalliance.com/pdfs/2011_Loop_Economic_Study_FINAL.pdf">Loop job losses</a> and Illinois&#39;s precarious <a href="http://www.bondbuyer.com/news/illinois-budget-pension-reform-1040300-1.html">fiscal situation</a>.</p><p>&quot;The gleaming towers, swank restaurants, and smart shops remain, but Chicago is experiencing a steep decline quite different from that of many other large cities,&quot; Renn wrote. &quot;It is a deeply troubled place, one increasingly falling behind its large urban brethren and presenting a host of challenges for new mayor Rahm Emanuel.&quot;</p><p>Renn&#39;s main point: unlike New York or Silicon Valley, Chicago&#39;s economy lacks a &quot;calling card&quot; industry &ndash; it&#39;s more like the &quot;unofficial&quot; capital of the Midwest.&nbsp;</p><p>His piece is quite the talk around town, <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120615/BLOGS02/120619858/is-the-second-rate-city-hindered-by-a-diverse-economy">Crain&#39;s columnist Greg Hinz writes</a>.</p><p>Lee Bey (full disclosure: one of our WBEZ <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey">bloggers</a>) told me what was remarkable about the story that was Renn &quot;gave voice publicly to things that have been whispered privately,&quot; adding he, like many, feel it is an honest assessment of the city.</p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.07520196377081467">&quot;I wanted to really put out the data that shows we have big, big problems in Chicago,&quot; Renn said, when I reached him yesterday at his new home in Rhode Island. &quot;I think bits and pieces have been put over the place, but I don&rsquo;t think people have tied in the economic, demographic and financial problems</span><span id="internal-source-marker_0.07520196377081467">.&quot;</span></p><p><strong>- Is there a skills mismatch in the job market?</strong> Economists like to use this term to talk about the difference between the skills workers have and the skills needed for the jobs employers are hiring for. There&#39;s been much talk about this during the Great Recession, but a <a href="http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/chicago_fed_letter/2012/cfljuly2012_300.pdf">new report</a> from the Chicago Fed concludes probably not, at least in a widespread way.</p><p>The authors analyzed a lot of data to conclude that most likely the low levels of hiring are because employers appear &quot;hesitant to fully commit to hiring&quot; for the openings they have, although there is evidence there may be a mismatch among &quot;middle-skilled&quot; workers, or those who require a moderate level of skill. I did a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/new-manufacturing-workers-need-strong-math-reading-skills-99882">story about this last week </a>looking at people who want to get into these types of jobs in manufacturing that looked at the advanced math and reading skills required these days for jobs like welding &ndash; and how many workers just don&#39;t have those basic skills.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jun 2012 08:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/chicago-second-rate-city-100211