Prominent industries with employment concentrations in several metropolitan areas are education and health services, manufacturing, government, and finance. These industries stand out as having a larger share of employment in several metropolitan areas in the region than they have at the national level.

Significant concentrations of employment in certain industries can importantly influence economic conditions in an area, both long term and short term. In the long term, growing industries, such as health care and business services, can provide areas with growth momentum; conversely, industries that are not growing in terms of employment, such as manufacturing, can limit an area’s potential growth. (Of course, there will always be factors specific to certain firms and subdivisions of industries that can run counter to overall industry trends.) In the short term, some industries, including manufacturing and construction, are more cyclical than others, so areas where they are concentrated are more susceptible to economic fluctuations than other areas. In estimating the immediate outlook as well as the long-term economic prospects for the region’s metropolitan areas, we must know what their economic structure is today. The rest of this report covers how industries are defined, how their local concentrations are measured, and what these measures reveal about the industrial structure of the region’s major metropolitan areas.