Inclusive Economic Development Taskforce: Addressing the Intersection of Jobs, Skills, and Pay in Developing a City’s Economy Equitably
While many urban economies in the United States and EU are showing signs of economic recovery from the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and on average unemployment has declined precipitously in the United States and slowly but steadily in the EU, nonetheless, beneath such ostensible improvements there are still growing tensions and anxieties that critically affect the economies and societies in transatlantic cities. Specifically, we know that parallel to growth, wages at the bottom end of the income distribution have stagnated in the U.S. and the U.K. and to varying degrees within and between continental European countries. At the same time income and wealth inequality has increased, in the United States and in the EU, the problem of precarious or vulnerable and under-paid forms of work and the significance of skills differentials has been emerging too. Transatlantically, attention is now being paid to these labor market changes on account of the insurmountable evidence the effect the rise in precarious work and stagnant wages is having on individuals’ and families’ livelihoods, wellbeing — and voting patterns. In an attempt to move from talk to action about these problems, GMF has been funded by the Compagnia di San Paolo to explore the following:
- How can (or should) transatlantic cities build/development more inclusive urban economies that take into consideration not just the number of jobs created but the type and quality of work as well?
GMF’s Urban and Regional Policy Program (URP) convened a taskforce that consisted of seven European and seven American experts to explore the issue of equitable and inclusive economic development in cities transatlantically. The meeting in Torino explored the role of race and ethnicity, the drivers of labor market change, and the challenges posed through governance, regulation, and capacity in seeking change at the city level. Out of the meeting, two key themes emerged that form the framework of the Cleveland meeting and the subsequent report: the need to change “the system” in which we currently operate and create the appropriate narrative to accompany the systems change. The Cleveland meeting focused on the different mechanisms transatlantic cities can leverage to develop more inclusive economic development that will, in turn, work towards changing systems. The outcome from the Torino and Cleveland convenings will be captured in a post-meeting publication that will include a series of recommendations co-created by taskforce participants. The recommendations will provide a pathway for other transatlantic cities looking to build more inclusive economies, with a spotlight on quality of work and wages as a key outcome, and will outline the “action” and thus the role GMF will play in bringing transatlantic cities together to share best practice and learning.