Yesterday's Washington Post had a very one-sided article on how it has been difficult for one region of North Carolina to cope with global economic competition. The local residents quoted in the story—many of whom have lost their jobs as local manufacturers move to China and elsewhere—are quite skeptical of the claim that local economies can adapt in the face of globalization:
"The people in the think tanks keep saying we are going to become—what's the term?—an 'information and services' economy," said Allan Mackie, manager of the North Carolina Employment Security Commission office. "That doesn't seem to be working out too good."
I wish author Peter Whoriskey had spent time investigating the other side of the coin—the entrepreneurs who are trying to create those new information and services jobs. That's the harder side of the story to report because it is never obvious where the new drivers of job growth will be, and it can be a slow process to discover them.
But it can be done. CNN just posted some fascinating profiles of seven innovators in Detroit who have started new companies to fill the gaps in the local economy left by manufacturing layoffs.
If the notoriously depressed Detroit can find ways to innovate and adapt, any part of the country can.