Detroit ranks high in Brookings’ hot cities for advanced industries list

June 9, 2015

Kenan Fikri and Mark Muro at Brookings have identified the hottest 15 metropolitan areas for advanced industries.

In an earlier report, Brookings defined the “advanced industries” sector as deeply involved with technology R&D with high STEM employment. The sector includes manufacturing industries (automotive and aerospace, for example), energy industries (oil and gas extraction), and high-tech services (such as computer software and system design, including health applications).

In their latest post, Fikri and Muro note that all advanced industries drive R&D and employ STEM workers. “And yet,” they write, “while advanced industries do this everywhere, how they do it in one metro area can be quite different from how they do it in another.”

As for their list of the 15 top cities, it’s not surprising that San Jose comes out on top. “An astonishing three out of every ten jobs in San Jose fall within the advanced industries sector,” they write. And it’s not too surprising that Seattle and San Francisco place near the top (at second and fifth, respectively).

You might be more surprised that Wichita places third. They write, “What Wichita lacks in s industry breadth it makes up for in depth. The metro area’s renowned aerospace industry makes it something of a one-cluster town….”

And in fourth place is Detroit. “Underneath the prevailing narrative of Detroit as a Rust Belt ghost town is a busy metro area marrying its industrial past to a digital future,” they write. “As cars become devices, Detroit is cultivating specializations in electronics, computing, and R&D services.”

Completing the top 10 are Washington, DC (with its “quintessential advanced services economy”), Palm Bay (Florida’s “Space Coast” with its “small but potent portfolio of advanced industries primarily engaged in aerospace and defense), Boston (with diverse companies addressing defense, biotech, software, robotics, genomics, and Internet of Things), Houston (“the world’s energy capital”), and San Diego (sitting “at the sweet spot of technological convergence” with emphasis on life sciences, communications, and microelectronics).

Just missing the top 10 is Austin at number 11. “Tech-centric Austin is apparently weird in all the right ways—the 13 advanced industries in which it specializes pay, on average, over $100,000 per year,” Fikri and Muro write.

Completing the top 15 are Provo, UT; Raleigh, NC; Ogden, UT; and Salt Lake City, UT.

Read the details here.

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