60% of U.S. Cities Still in Recovery Mode

Patrick Gillespie   |   January 26, 2015

Many U.S. cities are still playing catch up to their pre-recession levels, according to a new MetroMonitor report released by the Brookings Institution, which ranks the economic health of 300 cities globally based on employment and gross domestic product per capita. Indeed, the report shows that 60 percent of U.S. cities still lag their pre-recession levels.

Notably, cities focused on technology and energy -- such as Austin, Houston, and Raleigh -- are thriving, while other cities -- mostly centered around the Great Lakes -- continue to struggle and ranked in the bottom 50 cities worldwide for growth.

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"Some parts of the country are high-flying, they're doing great," Joe Parilla, an author of the Brookings report, told CNNMoney. "Other parts probably feel like they're, if not in a recession, they still feel like they're not recovering."

Syracuse, N.Y., was the lowest U.S. ranked city on Brookings list, falling just above Caracas Venezuela. In Caracas, food shortages and high inflation have prompted violent protests recently. Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio, aslso continue to struggle, as well as other cities that rely heavily on manufacturing jobs, which suffered big employment and population drops that have caused housing markets to suffer.

On the other hand, Austin, Houston, and Raleigh all have an average unemployment rate of 4.3 percent -- below the national average of 5.6 percent. In fact, the report notes those three cities are beating out Beijing, Mumbai, and Shanghai in economic health last year in both GDP and employment gains.

A newly released report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors shows that all 363 U.S. metros it tracks are poised to see an increase in job growth this year. This could mark the strongest comeback year post-recession, the report notes. About 317 of the metro areas will likely see job growth of at least 1 percent in 2015.

Source: CNN Money