The 15 World Cities That Were Destroyed By The Recession

Two years into the ostensible recovery, Brookings has published a comprehensive report on the strongest metro economies before, during and after the global recession.

There’s no doubt where the recovery has been strongest. Emerging markets make up all of the 15 top ranked metros, including Shanghai, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro.

The worst metro recoveries list is more diverse. Three American cities make the bottom 15, along with headline favourites Dubai, Athens and Dublin. As the eurozone unemployment reaches a 12-year high, expect more European cities to sink to the bottom.

The report by Brookings, Deutsche Bank and London School of Economics ranks 150 global cities by employment and income growth.

#15 Sofia, Bulgaria

Post-recession annual income growth: -0.5%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.0%

Sofia's growth rate was ranked #10 before the recession. It fell to #80 during the recession. It fell to #136 after the recession.

We don't think of eastern Europe as an emerging market, but before the recession metro areas like Sofia were booming. Bulgaria's capital averaged 6.2 per cent income growth during this period.

But when the recession shook Europe, it smashed peripheral countries. Bulgaria has kept its currency pegged to the euro and suffered the consequences.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#14 Indianapolis, U.S.

Post-recession annual income growth: 2.2%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -3.2%

Indianapolis' growth rate was ranked #99 before the recession. It fell to #126 during the recession. It fell to #137 after the recession.

Indianapolis lost more jobs in the past two years than anywhere except Johannesburg. More even than Detroit and other U.S. cities that have started a slow recovery from the recession lows.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#13 Tallin, Estonia

Post-recession annual income growth: 1.1%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -2.4%

Tallin's growth rate was ranked #21 before the recession. It fell to #149 during the recession. It rose to #138 after the recession.

Tallin crashed hard during the recession, losing 16 per cent per capita income in a year. Since then it's actually doing relatively well. Thanks to careful governance, Estonia has a low debt-to-gdp ratio and will enter the eurozone on January 1.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#12 Atlanta, U.S.

Post-recession annual income growth: .9%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -2.4%

Atlanta's growth rate was ranked #56 before the recession. It fell to #136 during the recession. It fell to #139 after the recession.

Remember the Sun Belt migration? After years of growth driven by the housing bubble, Atlanta collapsed during the recession. And it's still getting worse.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#11 Porto, Portugal

Post-recession annual income growth: -1.2%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.6%

Porto's growth rate was ranked #145 before the recession. It rose to #87 during the recession. It fell to #140 after the recession.

Portugal has been struggling ever since joining the euro, with Porto faring worse than Lisbon. Now growth is stifled more than ever, thanks to debt concerns and an austerity budget.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#10 Athens, Greece

Post-recession annual income growth: -1.7%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.8%

Athens' growth rate was ranked #19 before the recession. It fell to #47 during the recession. It fell to #141 after the recession.

Athens was one of the hottest cities before the recession. Then the recession crippled Greek finances, forcing the country to accept a bailout and massive public sector cuts.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#9 Madrid, Spain

Post-recession annual income growth: -1.8%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.7%

Madrid's growth rate was ranked #22 before the recession. It fell to #134 during the recession. It fell to #142 after the recession.

Next up, Spain. Madrid was another blazing hot city before the recession, bolstered by soaring home prices. Now that bubble has popped and Spain is struggling with over 20 per cent -- and rising -- unemployment.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#8 Johannesburg, South Africa

Post-recession annual income growth: 1.4%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -4.2%

Johannesburg's growth rate was ranked #54 before the recession. It fell to #116 during the recession. It fell to #143 after the recession.

Johannesburg is plagued by demographic problems, with high youth unemployment and an overall unemployment rate of 27 per cent. It is one of the few emerging market metro areas that have had a slow recovery.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#7 Riga, Latvia

Post-recession annual income growth: -2.2%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.5%

Riga's growth rate was ranked #11 before the recession. It fell to #148 during the recession. It rose to #144 after the recession.

Riga is another booming eastern European city that was crushed by the recession. Latvia keeps its currency pegged to the euro, and as such has suffered acute deflation. To reduce its debt-to-gdp ratio to adequate levels, Latvia has levied severe public sector cuts.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#6 Valencia, Spain

Post-recession annual income growth: -1.9%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -2.4%

Valencia's growth rate was ranked #49 before the recession. It fell to #140 during the recession. It fell to #145 after the recession.

Like Madrid, but worse. Valencia was at the vanguard of Spain's housing bubble and subsequent crash. It has among the highest jobless rates in the country, with unemployment in construction and the deflated tourist sector.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#5 Las Vegas, U.S.

Post-recession annual income growth: -1.2%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -3.0%

Las Vegas' growth rate was ranked #14 before the recession. It fell to #128 during the recession. It fell to #146 after the recession.

Sin City has America's worst housing market and among the highest unemployment. The whole city is dependent on tourism, which has bottomed thanks to the recession.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#4 Thessaloniki, Greece

Post-recession annual income growth: -3.0%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -1.7%

Thessaloniki's growth rate was ranked #51 before the recession. It fell to #57 during the recession. It fell to #147 after the recession.

Like Athens, just worse. The hip coastal city was a hot spot for home prices, and a victim of the crash.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#3 Barcelona, Spain

Post-recession annual income growth: -2.4%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -2.5%

Barcelona's growth rate was ranked #35 before the recession. It fell to #145 during the recession. It fell to #148 after the recession.

And here's the third Spanish city on our list.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#2 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Post-recession annual income growth: -7.8%

Post-recession annual employment growth: 1.1%

Dubai's growth rate was ranked #2 before the recession. It fell to #97 during the recession. It fell to #149 after the recession.

The Dubai Dream popped at the end of 2009, when sovereign investment company Dubai Dream said it needed to renegotiate its loans. Since then investors have been fleeing the emirate, and home prices are still dropping.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

#1 Dublin, Ireland

Post-recession annual income growth: -4.4%

Post-recession annual employment growth: -2.6%

Dublin's growth rate was ranked #6 before the recession. It fell to #144 during the recession. It fell to #150 after the recession.

Dublin was one of the hottest cities before the recession, thanks to a smoking housing bubble and low corporate tax rates. Now the housing bubble has popped and Ireland was left with mountains of debt.

After last week's bailout, Ireland is sticking to a severe austerity program that threatens to divide the country.

Data comes from Brookings' Global MetroMonitor. Pre-recession rating includes 1997-2007. Recession rating includes the worst year between 2007-2010. Post-recession rating includes 2009-2010. Rankings include 150 of the world's largest metro areas.

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