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Published: Friday, 2/25/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Report: Toledo export-rich

Area lags with workers in science, engineering

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER


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Metro Toledo provides 5.3 percent of Ohio’s exports and has 5.6 percent of the state’s workers with college degrees. But the area only has 4.4 percent of the state’s workers involved in innovative fields such as science and engineering, according to a study that looks at how resources are spread in every state.

The report, released yesterday by the Brookings Institution, makes several assertions that any Ohio resident would say is fairly obvious.

It says that Ohio’s seven largest metro areas of Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron, Toledo, and Youngstown — which are also among the 100 largest metro areas nationwide — account for nearly three-quarters of the state’s population, jobs, and economic output.

But the report takes the obvious a step further and says that since an outsized share of a state’s resources are concentrated in its largest metro areas, states should focus most of their economic efforts on metro areas, which eventually will lead to prosperity for all residents of a state.

“Our research shows that metro areas are poised to lead in the next economy,” said Alan Berube, the study’s co-author. “State economic leaders should cultivate metropolitan-led strategies for economic growth, building from metro areas’ distinctive assets and market strengths to grow quality jobs and promote sustainable, statewide prosperity.”

In Michigan, the Brookings report notes just two metro area among the 100 largest: Detroit and Grand Rapids, which account for 56 percent of the Michigan’s economic output.

A state such as Minnesota is among 15 states where there is one large metro area.

Jim Coons, an economist and head of J.W. Coons Advisors LLC in Columbus, said rather than concentrating all government efforts on metro areas, a state might do better to look at making itself a more friendly place to do business.




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