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Coming home: “Boomerang” workers are reviving Rust Belt job growth

It’s no secret that many Midwestern cities have lost population as jobs evaporated in recent decades. But while traveling through four cities last week, I heard a surprising number of people talking about the opposite: the younger generation coming back home.

 

Why it matters: Rust Belt cities have suffered severe “brain drain” the past three or so decades, the result of a decline of manufacturing jobs. Many young graduates left their home towns to find job opportunities in larger cities like San Francisco, New York and Chicago. But as the cost of living in such bigger cities soars, some of these young professionals are looking for ways to return to their roots. And local employers are seizing the chance to get them back.

 

Startup mobility: Several people I talked to moved to the San Francisco Bay Area right out of school to get tech industry experience when many parts of the country were still reeling from the financial crash. Fast forward seven or eight years, and they get married, look at buying a house, think about starting a family — and want the lifestyle they grew up with.

 

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