Tags: employment | GDP | economy | counties

Study: Jobless Rate Still Above Pre-Recession Levels in 95 Percent of Counties

By    |   Tuesday, 13 January 2015 08:30 AM

Looking at the economy through the prism of the nation's 3,069 counties, things are getting better but still have a ways to go, according to a study by the National Association of Counties.

Last year was one "of recovery, but unemployment has yet to return to pre-recession lows in most county economies." the report said.

On the plus side:
  • GDP surpassed the peak recorded before the latest downturn in an additional 88 county economies relative to 2013.
  • Housing prices recovered in just under half of county economies.
  • Employment levels recovered in an additional 130 county economies.
But on the minus side:
  • Nearly three-quarters of county economies are still below their pre-recession employment levels, and unemployment is not back to pre-recession rates in 95 percent of county economies.
  • Average annual wages declined in half of county economies between 2012 and 2013.
  • Only 65 county economies have fully recovered to pre-recession levels in all four of these areas: jobs, unemployment rates, GDP and median home prices.
"The analysis shows that economic growth is spreading, with jobs and unemployment rates improving across nearly all county economies," the study stated. "This progress through adversity indicates the success of county economic development efforts, but also the continued need for a strong local-state-federal partnership in securing a strong economy."

Meanwhile, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum (AAF), says last week's December employment report raises questions about the economy's strength.

Non-farm payrolls gained 252,000, putting the increase for all of 2014 at 2.95 million, the biggest yearly gain since 1999.

But average hourly wages advanced only 1.7 percent in the 12 months through December, the worst showing in more than two years, and labor force participation totaled only 62.7 percent, matching a 36-year low.

"The bottom line: a strong labor market attracts people to participate and pays them rising wages," Holtz-Eakin wrote on AAF's website. "It is hard to say the labor market is strong despite the robust top-line numbers. The U.S. economy is healing, but not yet healthy."

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Looking at the economy through the prism of the nation's 3,069 counties, things are getting better but still have a ways to go, according to a study by the National Association of Counties.
employment, GDP, economy, counties
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2015-30-13
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 08:30 AM
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