North America

Half of US counties haven’t recovered from recession

345476_jobless americansAbout half of the America’s 3,069 county economies are still short of their prerecession economic output, reflecting the uneven economic recovery, according to a new report from the National Association of Counties.

The overall US economy had reached its prerecession level of gross domestic product three years ago, Commerce Department figures show.

National statistics “mask the reality on the ground,” where some county economies were in recession long before December 2007 and others never experienced one at all, said Emilia Istrate, the association’s director of research and one of the authors of the report. “That’s where Americans feel the economy. They feel it locally.”

The report, released Monday, examined four economic indicators: GDP, total number of jobs, unemployment rates and home prices. It found wide variations.

Almost 400 counties saw no decline in GDP from their prerecession levels. Large counties were hit hard by the recession, but have recovered relatively strongly.

The roughly 800 counties boasting prerecession employment levels by 2013 are mostly in the Midwest and South. And just 54 had achieved their prerecession level of unemployment last year, the report said.

“This shows us that although the US economy as a whole is on the right track, we have a fragile recovery, and at the same time it’s an uneven recovery,” Ms. Istrate said. WSJ

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