Sobering Trends In Employment and Output Growth

Storm Clouds

Everyone’s looking for a hint — a tiny hint — of good economic news, and I wish I had some. Although the latest MetroMonitor report from the Brookings Institution might have some on first blush, it doesn’t take much reading to see the sobering trends just below the surface.

Most large metropolitan areas showed growth in jobs and output during the second quarter, the report says, but the growth was painfully slow. The bottom line, says Howard Wial, a Brookings Institution fellow who co-authored the report, is that the economy “is stuck running in place and running out of breath.”

The report documents an overall sluggishness many people have suspected: Unemployment rates remained high. Government employment continued to fall in most areas. Housing prices hit new lows, even though the number of foreclosures fell in half of the top regions. Since the beginning of the recession, workers’ earnings have fallen in slightly more than half of the areas.

Says Wial:

Nearly all the metropolitan areas whose economies suffered the least since the start of the recession rely substantially on government, education, or energy production and had increases in government employment since the start of the recession…. Meanwhile, nearly all the metropolitan areas that suffered the most since the beginning of the recession either experienced a large house price boom and bust or depend heavily on auto and auto parts manufacturing.

FYI, the best performing cities were (alphabetically):

  • Albany, NY
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA-NH
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Dallas, TX
  • El Paso, TX
  • Hartford, CT
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Houston, TX
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Madison, WI
  • Nashville, TN
  • Oklahoma City OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rochester, NY
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Washington, DC-VA-MD

And the worst, again alphabetically:

  • Bakersfield, CA
  • Boise, ID
  • Cape Coral, FL
  • Detroit, MI
  • Fresno, CA
  • Lakeland, FL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Miami, FL
  • Modesto, CA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • North Port, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Palm Bay, FL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Riverside, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Stockton, CA
  • Tampa, FL

3 Responses to “Sobering Trends In Employment and Output Growth”

  1. Well, I saw those large Metropolitan cities like Madison, Boise, Lakeland and Modesto. But what about that little city named ATLANTA that happens to anchor the whole Southeast and has one of the two busiest airports in the world being in the ratings?

    Just wondering.

  2. Sorry all, I should have been more concise in my posting. Atlanta is booming right now as far as IT goes (still stagnant in other sectors to a large degree- like the nation). I have been doing IT staffing for 17 years and 12 here in Atlanta. If you are an IT Recruiter and you’re not working in Atlanta, it is because you desire not to be engaged in the workforce at this time.

    So, my post was just one of dismay that a city of 4 million that is doing well in IT was not listed in the Top 20, while many other very small towns who have never been relevant to IT were.

    Just my .02

    Happy hunting and make it a great day!