Would you like to learn more about labor market restructuring in post-industrial cities? Take a look at this case study of Pittsburgh and Detroit by Colby King & Laura Crommelin

Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.

A different perspective on post-industrial labor market restructuring in Detroit and Pittsburgh, by Colby King Laura Crommelin


The Midwestern cities of Pittsburgh and Detroit are often held up as quintessential examples of post-industrial urban trajectories—one positive (Pittsburgh) and one negative (Detroit). In this paper, we investigate the structural economic shifts reshaping work opportunities in these two urban regions in the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession, using a shift share analysis of changes in occupational distributions from 2009 to 2016. Through this analysis, we identify comparable patterns in both cities, including the growth of creative workers across industries, and declining demand for service workers balanced only by growth in service-reliant industries. These findings add nuance to the prevailing narratives associated with Detroit and Pittsburgh, and demonstrate how structural forces intersect with understandings of “work” in these cities.

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