Looking around the globe to see which cities are most manufacturing intensive led to the creation of a new measurement by Joseph Parilla and Jesus Trujillo of the Brookings Institution.
Drawing on Moody’s Analytics and Oxford Economics data from their recent Global MetroMonitor report, they used two metrics to define "intensity.” The first is the share of the metro economy’s gross value added (aka GDP) in manufacturing. This metric is heavily dominated by Chinese and other developing Asian metro areas. While a straightforward measure of a metro economy’s dependence on manufacturing to drive growth, this metric alone fails to control for the fact that developing countries are much more manufacturing-oriented. The Chinese metro areas and George Town score very highly on this metric compared to the advanced economies.
The second metric helps to control for this by measuring how specialized a metro economy is in manufacturing relative to its country. This is called a location quotient. The LQ is computed as manufacturing’s share of a regional output divided by manufacturing’s share of national output. This is why Portland, which specializes in semiconductors and truck manufacturing, is in the top slot. It is very manufacturing-dependent as compared to the United States, as are Durham (pharmaceuticals), Greensboro (numerous industries), and Grand Rapids (auto manufacturing).