Human Capital, Skills, and Uneven Intraurban Employment Growth: The Case of Göteborg, Sweden, 1990–2008

Recent research has elucidated the role of talents to explain urban growth differences but it remains to be shown whether urban dynamics, such as human capital and a mixed local population, can be linked to intraurban employment growth. By use of a unique longitudinal database, we track the economic development through the lens of intraurban employment growth of a number of primary urban areas (PUA) in Göteborg, Sweden. Regarding factors influencing employment growth, we find that relative concentrations of human capital protect areas from rising unemployment during severe recession (1990–1993) and recovery (1990–2000) while the composition of skills is beneficial during recovery (1990–2000) and long-term growth (1990–2008). Our findings suggest that neither too high concentrations of creative occupations nor too low ones are beneficial. Thus, human capital drives much of the employment changes in relation to the recession and early transition from manufacturing to service but composition of skills is more relevant for explaining long-term intraurban employment growth.