Much of the discussion about American economic recovery and growth in 2012 focused on the usual suspects: regions on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and on the shores of the Great Lakes. But the best recent economic record, as well as the best prospects for future prosperity, are to be found elsewhere in the United States.
We have identified four regions of the country that we call “growth corridors.” What they lack in media attention they make up for in past performance and likely future success. Over the past decade-and, in some cases, far longer-these regions have created more jobs and gained more population than their counterparts along the ocean coasts or along the Great Lakes.
The four growth corridors are:
1. The Great Plains region, made up of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Dakotas
2. The “Third Coast” stretch of counties whose shores abut the Gulf of Mexico and which range through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida
3. The “Intermountain West,” consisting of counties in the north of New Mexico and Arizona, parts of eastern California and western regions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, as well as the non-coastal eastern regions of Oregon and Washington and all of Idaho, Utah, and Nevada
4. The “Southeast Manufacturing Belt” of counties in eastern Arkansas, all of Tennessee, and large swaths of Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and southwestern Virginia