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Early data shows positive job growth in distressed US counties as new federal policies take effect
Brookings
2024.05.23
The Biden administration has instituted several small-scale pilot programs to spur job growth in distressed places, such as the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, the Tech Hubs program, the Regional Innovation Engines program, the Recompete Pilot Program, and the Reconnecting Communities Pilot program. Some larger Biden administration programs with more general purposes may have also helped distressed places. These include legislation to provide state and local fiscal aid (the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund), infrastructure investment (the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), and “industrial policy” programs to promote investments in semiconductors and clean energy (the CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act). These more general purpose programs are more generously funded, and include some provisions that favor distressed places.
In our new report, we examine job growth data to see if these recent federal policies are creating jobs where they are most needed―in distressed communities. We find that job growth in distressed counties has in fact accelerated since 2019. At the same time, recent job growth trends have lagged in more prosperous counties. These overall job growth trends appear to have occurred in part due to trends in the growth of the manufacturing and high-tech industries, which policymakers have targeted.