In the elusive quest for a sustainable economic recovery, some areas have fared better than others.
Only 19 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas' growth rate rose in terms of both output and employment during the last three months of 2011, according to the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. In general, the economy is steadily improving, with the unemployment rate holding at 8.3 percent in February and stronger economic growth at the end of 2011, but a variety of factors has led some metro areas to experience stronger recoveries than others.
California has a particularly high proportion of metro areas with weak recoveries. Many cities in that state were adversely affected by a sluggish housing market, which has also slowed the recovery of Florida cities like Jacksonville and Winter Haven, according to the study. In addition, cities that have hemorrhaged government jobs, like Los Angeles and Atlanta, are often among those that have struggled the most.
By contrast, cities that have improved economically are often strong in the manufacturing, technology and government sectors, according to Brookings. Detroit, Michigan, known for manufacturing, and the California cities of San Jose and Bakersfield, which are strong in technology and government, are all examples of cities whose economies have been helped by growth in these industries.
Here at the 20 metros recovering worst from the recession, according to the Brookings Institution: