The Rust Belt of Eastern Europe


It’s easy to forget sometimes, but the United States and Canada aren’t the only places that have suffered from factory shutdowns and a loss of manufacturing jobs.

This article details how the current recession is hurting the steel industry in Hungary. This more in-depth story from Reuters also explores the same issue.

Some of the quotes in this story are striking in that they sound like they could easily be about workers or regions here in the U.S.:

“In its heyday in the 1980s. the city of Miskolc had more than 200,000 residents, most working in industry. The population has fallen to about 170,000 and unemployment stands at between 15 and 16 percent, well above the national average of 9.8 percent. DAM, which survived privatizations in the 1990s and was rescued after previous liquidations, is being wound up again and is laying off its approximately 700 remaining employees.”

“…More than half of those losing their jobs at the steel mill are aged over 50 and finding new work for them will be difficult, even though the city receives funds from an EU program partly designed to help crisis-hit regions, she says. ‘Those who worked at DAM for 30 to 40 years would have never left this plant. First they must overcome the trauma of all this, and it’s very hard,’ Dudas says.”

I wonder how other nations have responded to the problems caused by plant closings and mass layoffs of maufacturing workers — extended unemployment benefits? worker retraining? relocation assitance? Is there anything other countries are doing that we should be trying? Has anyone studied this?



Filed under Economic Development, Featured

3 responses to “The Rust Belt of Eastern Europe

  1. schmange

    Researchers at Kent State’s Urban Design School and Cleveland State University have done studies on Eastern Europe, which has many shrinking cities similar to the Rust Belt region.

    Dresden, Germany is actually a good example of a city that has managed decline successfully. By adopting a policy of controlled shrinkage and redeveloping some historic housing near the city center, Dresden was actually able to reverse population decline.

    I think the difference here in the U.S. is we have racial strife and negative attitudes/policies toward cities that will be difficult to overcome. Class and race issues are intertwined with our physical geography and that brings with it a whole host of social issues that are a hard nut to crack.

  2. Pingback: GLUEspace » Blog Archive » Rust Wire News Round-up

  3. Serrano

    The US also has enough real estate that it can afford to abandon cities it doesn’t need. Germany is much smaller and has been inhabited for much longer, so it makes better use of real estate. Visit if you can. Germans are hospitable, the food is great, and Oktoberfest is not to be missed. 🙂

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