Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Sep 19th 2008 at 2:30am UTC

Are All Jobs Created Equal?

That’s the question confronting Crystal City, Missouri – a small town outside St. Louis – according to today’s Wall Street Journal. Apparently, an old glass factory which was the centerpiece of the area’s economy closed in 1990. The community has morphed into a small commuter suburb with 4,200 residents. But now, plans have surfaced to build a new pig-iron smelter on the site providing between 120 and 700 jobs, igniting community debate. The issue, according to WSJ reporter Tim Aeppel, comes down to this.

On one side are those welcoming almost any decent-paying job, even relatively “dirty” ones, as employment that the community otherwise wouldn’t have. The other side is dominated by those who see certain kinds of development as worse than no jobs at all.

If you were the town’s mayor or economic development director what would you do?

3 Responses to “Are All Jobs Created Equal?”

  1. Ralf Lippold Says:

    Strongly reminds me of the case of Genthin, in Eastern Germany, where a fairly large chemical plant run by Henkel is going to be closed by the end of next year.

    Everybody in the town and the region is clinging to the “old work” as if this is saving the day.

    Anybody interested here you can find more: (in German)

    What are other stories around especially where the change has taken place into a “new work” future?

    I am curious and looking forward to exchange thoughts, ideas, possibilities.

    Best regards


  2. Scott Says:

    Then again, despite becoming a service economy, the US doesn’t have very many local manufacturing facilities. If oil is getting more expensive, we’re going to need more local manufacturing facilities.

  3. Matt S. Says:

    What I don’t get is the number of “jobs” created. I’m curious to see how “livable” the jobs are. This is always the argument for new stadiums too. How many of those people can actually LIVE on them? I think the U.S. needs to have numbers of “livable job numbers” vs. created jobs.