New York is a great city. It's arguably the greatest city in the world. But many myths persist, misleading many aspiring metros. Like San Francisco, NYC is a domestic migration loser. "Successful cities" are often tops in brain drain. Ironically (in view of the exodus), New York is also king of the talent glut:


In the pilot, Hannah was fired from her intern job after she tried to ask for a salary. Why stay in New York then? Besides, Hannah’s goal, as a self-described memoirist, is to pen a book, which she can do anywhere.

The housing crisis that has plagued the country in recent years might have dampened labor mobility because people cannot sell their homes, but college graduates, with no such burdens, can and should move to where jobs can be found.

On the show, Hannah is seeking a writing position. There are about one million Hannahs wanting the same thing in New York City, which is why firms can afford to not pay for writing talent. It’s a simple story of supply and demand.


The show is HBO's "Girls". The review is more of a lecture about geographic mobility and labor markets. New York attracts much more talent that its job creation can absorb. Why do people keep moving there? Reputation. Geographic stereotypes drive migration. New York gets to pick the cream of the cream of the talent crop.

The only thing more impressive than New York's talent gravity is its outmigration. A great deal of sloppy seconds from NYC and DC ends up in Pittsburgh, a critical nexus of Northeastern talent trade. The proof is a talent glut in Southwestern PA. That's a result of too little outmigration. The difference is that in New York, the talent glut spurs innovation. In Pittsburgh, the glut informs parochial attitudes that have stifled job creation. Not all negative net migrations are created equal.