31 Mar 2011

The Brookings Institute has recently released a report on the impact of the global downturn on America's 100 major metropolitan regions as part of their Metro Monitor series.

The report is an interesting read, highlighting gradual economic recovery in many of the major cities of America while also pointing out some of the lingering headaches, such as slow job growth and high unemployment. Among some of the headline findings:
  • Nearly all the metropolitan areas whose economies have suffered the most since the start of the Great Recession are ones that experienced a large house price boom and bust or that depend heavily on auto or auto parts manufacturing.
  • Only four metropolitan areas (Austin, Hartford, McAllen, and San Antonio) were among the top 20 metropolitan areas during both the recession and the recovery, while only two (Detroit and Palm Bay) were among the bottom 20 during both periods.
  • Local government employment fell in 60 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas between the time of peak total employment and the last quarter of 2010, while state government employment fell in 48 of those metropolitan areas.
  • Forty-nine of the 100 largest metropolitan areas had job growth in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 25 in the third quarter but down from 87 in the second quarter.
  • Only 14 large metropolitan areas had at least three quarters of consecutive job growth during 2010
  • House prices fell between the fourth quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010 in 98 of the 100 largest metropolitan areas.
While many metropolitan areas have had ups and downs in the past few decades a recent New York Times article discusses new statistics from the US Census that show few metropolitan areas have suffered long-term decline as much as Detroit where the population has dropped by 237,500 people (25%) in the last decade. This has resulted in a stunning 20% of homes within the city being left vacant. Clearly the Motor City has a long way to go to recovery from years of decline.