I spend a decent amount of time traveling around the U.S. speaking at conferences and visiting clients. Doing this is a visceral form of economic research — you can see just how various regions arerecovering and expanding with your own eyes.

It doesn’t take much to realize that, to paraphrase science fiction writer William Gibson, the recovery is here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.

The variations are based on three factors: education, region and industry. Last year, I cited these as the key drivers of why some folks think this is a terrible recovery and others believe it is strong. The answer depends upon what sort of diploma you have, where you live and what industry you work in. My Bloomberg View colleague Justin Fox has written about this, noting that despite the strong overall job market in the U.S., “six states saw payroll employment decline over the 12 months ending in January.”

If you are in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, with the wrong background, you are very likely to be unhappy with this economy.

I thought a good deal about this during the past week while visiting Portland, Oregon, which I can only describe as a boomtown. Portland is one of the 20 fastest growing cities in the U.S. From the third quarter of 2014 to the same period in 2015, Oregon had the greatest gains of any state in economic health, according to an index created by Bloomberg. The locals I spoke with told me that for several years after the recession ended the recovery was moving along modestly, but that during the past two years the regional economy has surged.


Continues at The Boomtown Economy

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