Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A great sucking increase....

Torry Gattis of Houston Strategies linked to this interactive map from Forbes.com showing migration patterns in America from county to county.

Superficially Harris County looks pretty good, with huge net gains vs. the net losses of other counties etc.


A closer look at the numbers however reveals a worrying trend: ON average, the people moving OUT of Harris County have higher incomes than those moving INTO Harris County.

In other words, instead of attracting skilled or executive jobs the county seems to be bringing in unskilled laborers or the unemployed. Backing up that contention is this story that doesn't place Harris County in the top 50 as far as "where America's money is moving".

In an earlier post I stated that Houston needed to get it's pro-business, pro-jobs mojo back in a bad way. People often point to Harris County's growth as evidence this is not so. What they forget is that people who come in without skills and employment are just another drain on local government, a government that's running on fumes as it is.

Another problem is that the IRS isn't counting the influx of people coming into Harris County from non-US sources, neither are they quantifying their income. (or, lack of one from most media accounts.)

Growth for growth's sake is not the economic indicator that many believe. In most cases the numbers are more nuanced than what the superficial picture reveals.

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