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Future work: Denver metropolitan area jobs in a globalizing economy

In the past twenty years, globalization has had both observable and intangible impacts on business and labor markets at the local level, that are of critical importance to communities and the people who inhabit them. While impacts of global economic change on local labor markets have been anticipated, there is little insight in the research literature into the empirical dynamics of the interrelationship between global economic change and local labor markets. This study examined the impacts of globalization on local labor markets through three lenses: (1) quantitative analysis of employment change in the Denver Metropolitan Region local labor market, (2) quantitative comparison of six other metropolitan regional labor markets across different geographies, and (3) a qualitative analysis of explicit reports by participants in the Denver Metropolitan local labor market (people in business, consulting, the public sector, and education). The main hypothesis of this study is that, in metropolitan areas where the forces of global economic change are at work, two proxy measures for globalization, foreign direct investment (FDI) and export trade, have a statistically significant relationship to changes in industry employment in local labor markets. Quantitative analysis used multiple regression to identify correlation between industry employment and FDI and export trade. Results indicate that there is a correlation in selected industries where the geographic factors of location provided an explanatory basis for the results. Qualitative analysis revealed that respondents have cautious optimism regarding the economic promise of globalization and still acknowledge the challenges that globalization brings into focus for the region’s business, education and government stakeholders. It also demonstrated the differences in perspectives of the respondents from different roles: business owner, enterprise employee, educator, and government official. The study concludes that the data support the hypothesis in select industries where there are geographic advantages, but they do not support the generalization of the hypothesis to all cases where FDI or international export trade affect industry employment. The study further finds that each of the metros examined have unique regional economic development entities that partner to attract FDI and encourage international export trade.