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In Some Metros, Recession is a Distant Memory

August 13, 2013

by Jeff Pinkerton

February 2010 marks the point when the U.S. economy stopped losing jobs — and started adding them. Since then, three and half years ago, the U.S. has regained just 75 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession. This is not considered a robust recovery.

Here in the Kansas City region, employment is recovering even more slowly. Kansas City has regained 73 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession

While the Kansas City area’s employment growth rate is close to the national average, some of our peer metropolitan areas are gaining jobs by more significant rates. The chart below shows the percent of jobs regained during recovery from the Great Recession, between January 2008 and February 2010.

Regained Employment

As the graphic illustrates, the Oklahoma City area — with a growing energy sector— has regained more than twice as many jobs as it lost during the recession.

Other cities, such as Cincinnati, St. Louis, Memphis and Sacramento, have gained less than half of the jobs they lost.

So, what is driving the differences? Clearly industry mix impacts the disparities. The metros with robust recovery likely specialize in industries that are adding employment at a faster rate.

We’ll look more closely at the employment-by-industry data and try to address the driving forces of recovery in an upcoming post.

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