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Gone but not forgotten: Jobs and people from the Rust Belt

Like many other cities in the so-called Rust Belt, the once booming steel city of Youngstown, Ohio, has fallen on hard times. It's in the Mahoning Valley, an industrial corridor southeast of Cleveland that has lost 50,000 jobs in recent decades. But as the November issue of Governing magazine notes, Youngstown is serious about turning the situation around. Last year, for example, voters rejected candidates from major political parties and chose former community development director Jay Williams, an independent, as their mayor. But just how daunting the challenge is for Youngstown and other selected Rust Belt cities is evident in Census Bureau data that show the percentage of population losses between 1970 and 2005:

Gary, Ind. – 43.72%
Youngstown, Ohio – 41.21%
Flint, Mich. – 38.68%
Saginaw, Mich. – 36.46%
Utica, N.Y. – 35.06%
Dayton, Ohio – 34.63%
Scranton, Pa. – 28.80%
Charleston, W. Va. – 28.43%
Syracuse, N.Y. – 28.19%
Erie, Pa. – 20.62%

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