Recently, the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein had an interesting, if bleak (the actual headline was “The bleak truth about unemployment”) column about the nation’s Great Recession-induced structural economic changes and how they’re holding back employment growth.

Pearlstein’s crux:

"At this point, there is only one clear path out of the unemployment box we have created for ourselves.

"Right now, the United States is running a trade deficit that is likely to reach $450 billion this year. That's down considerably from the $750 billion at the height of the economic bubble, but still more than a wealthy advanced economy should have. Bringing it down--either by producing more of what we consume (fewer imports) or more of what other countries consume (more exports)--represents the path toward sustainable, long-term job creation."

That echoes a lot of our thinking on exports. What needs to happen, argues my colleague Bruce Katz in the National Journal, is for metropolitan areas to think globally and act upon their areas of export expertise--whether it be aviation in Wichita or chemicals in Houston.