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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

January 15, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Half of U.S. counties haven’t recovered from recession

Here’s your “recovery”: According to a new report, half of America’s counties still haven’t returned to their pre-recession levels of output. This despite the overall national economy reaching that mark three years ago.

The National Association of Counties looked at GDP, employment, unemployment rates and house prices from 2012 to 2013 for all 3,069 counties in the nation.

It’s an incomplete measure, to be sure, but hits the major yardsticks. The 122 most populous counties tended to take a bigger hit during the downturn but bounced back quickly. About 800 counties had no drops in overall employment or had reached pre-recession levels by last year. Many of these tended to be in the Midwest and South. The shale boom helped North Dakota. Some 400 saw no decline in output compared with their performance before the bust.

Many smaller, often-rural counties were not so fortunate. And even some populous counties still lag, including Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and most of Florida. Las Vegas and most of the Southwest — heavily overbuilt during the housing boom — continue to struggle.

The urban-rural split is seen in the Northwest. For example, Grays Harbor County lags Washington in every measure. King County has surpassed its pre-recession level of GDP (output) and recovered to its 2008 jobs growth. On the other hand, the unemployment rate and median house price growth remains below its 2007 peak.

The interactive map that goes with the link above is a bit unwieldy but you can click on the county and get specific information.

And Don’t Miss: Baltic Dry Index collapses 39 percent in nine trading days | Zero Hedge

Today’s Econ Haiku:

We could school S.F.

Add more universities

And a U.S. lab

Comments | More in Recovery | Topics: County economies

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