One of the most troubling trends of the past decade or so has been the deepening economic divide among the winners and losers in the talent-driven U.S. knowledge economy. But recently there are signs that conditions in a number of formerly troubled U.S. cities and metros may be improving. A recent study I wrote about here noted the substantial brain gain that is occurring in Rustbelt metros like Pittsburgh.
Spurred on by this, I decided to take a closer look at what has happened to the creative class—made up of knowledge workers, tech workers, artists, designers, entertainers, and professionals in education, healthcare, and law—over the past fifteen years or so. While most studies equate talent with the share of adults who hold college degrees, the creative class gauges what workers actually do by identifying the occupations in which they’re employed. Since I first wrote about this class more than a decade ago, it has gained millions more members. Today it comprises roughly a third of the workforce and accounts for about half of all wages and salaries across the United States.