Brookings’ latest December Metro Monitor makes it clear why Americans may be extremely divided on the strength of the economic recovery — America is a large, diverse country and not every metropolitan area is recovering at the same rate.
There is a huge disparity in terms of economic performance by region. Check out the table below, it shows one measure of local economic activity, Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP). This is basically a city’s GDP.
We can see that while for some metropolitan areas, such as Baltimore, Houston, Austin, and Ogden, the economy is growing. In fact, their growth is pretty robust, given that the percentage changes shown is for just a three month period. Annualized, these top four regions are growing their economies at roughly a 6.8% to 8.4% clip!
Yet it’s a completely different picture for many other regions. At the bottom of the list, metropolitan areas such as Allentown, Pittsburg, and Cape Coral are still experiencing a GMP recession. They are shrinking their economies at rates ranging from about -2 to -2.8%, annualized.
Thus when someone from Austin proclaims the recession is over, it’s understandable why someone in Pittburgh might think they’re full of it. Our local experience may not be representative of what’s actually happening to the nation as a whole.
Check out Brookings’ full December report here.
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