There’s an interesting map that accompanies this article in the WSJ’s Real Time Economics blog. When you examine the economic recovery on a county-by-county basis, about half of the counties in the U. S. haven’t recovered from the recession yet:

About half of the nation’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 U.S. 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.”

In the Chicagoland area Cook County and McHenry County have not recovered while Lake, Kane, and Will Counties have. In Northern California Marin and Contra Costa Counties have not recovered while Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties have. In Florida Glades County, Hardee County, and Union County were never in recession. Osceola County, Sumter County, St. Johns County, Suwannee County, and Monroe County have recovered. Most of the rest of the state is still in recession.

5 comments… add one
  • ... Link

    Must be the magnificent libraries and museums that kept Union County out of recession. Now Bradford County I would understand…. Oh, now I see! Still surprised by Bradford County, though.

    It’s funny to see Osceola County on the recovery list. They still get some spillover from the theme parks on the tourism front, but their main attraction is housing. At one point in the recession somewhere between 1/6 and 1/5 of all the homes in Osceola were empty – no buyers for homes that had been finished, and many homes foreclosed upon or abandoned. No idea how many developments were abandoned mid-completion. A real waste land. But now, the cash buyers have moved in and the economy is booming as they hoover up all the decent available property. Lots and LOTS of foreign buyers to.

    I’m a bit surprised the Orange County hasn’t officially recovered. Sure, the actual economy sucks ass, but the theme parks have been killing it with the upper 10 to 20% of the population, and they have jacked prices up considerably. OTOH, restaurants are still getting hammered. But we’ve also had a recovery in housing, with prices in some neighborhoods reaching bubble level prices again, and for the same reasons as in Osceola County. (Everyone in the local media hails this accomplishment, apparently having forgotten what happened six years ago – typical air-headed media, except that the local economists and bankers and business leaders say the same thing.)

    In fact, the cash buyers (looking for rental properties and looking to hold until they can flip the houses for a killing) are driving people that actually want to LIVE in homes out of the market, or into worse neighborhoods than they should be in. But no matter. The couple I know that had been getting hit by that the most now have a home, and a house-warming party is scheduled for Friday. Not likely to be very cheerful, though, as the wife just lost her job of many years last Friday. The company, having seen its stock price go up by 80% in the last year, has just had a nice RIFF in order to drive the stock price up a few more percent – and also to get rid of everyone who had been there for any length of time. Cut heads, and cut the most expensive heads at that, even if they’re the ones with all the institutional knowledge! This is the formula for success, apparently.

    So I now know four people who have lost their jobs in the last seven weeks, and I know of no one who has been hired in that time. I know of even more people at one remove who have lost their jobs in that time frame, and no one getting hired, save for one former executive now working as a part-time book-keeper for $12 an hour, and happy to get the work.

    Recovery Decade!

  • PD Shaw Link

    Interesting chart. A few observations:

    1. Some counties showing recovery or never in recession, were hit by large factory or prison closures before the recession, from which they’ve not recovered. They appear to be using 2007 as the starting point.

    2. Some of thee counties are so small that I doubt useful data is being presented for them.

    3. Public universities good indicator of recovery. In Illinois, all counties with a state university in them were never in recession or have recovered, except for those in Cook County or Madison County.

    4. The metric appears to be economic output, so that counties that have resumed / retained economic output while doubling the unemployment rate are “recovered.” E.g., Sangamon County unemployment rate was approx. 4.5%, hit 10.0%, now 7.5% and was never in recession according to this usage. IOW, appears to greatly underreport jobless aspects of recovery.

  • ... Link

    IOW, appears to greatly underreport jobless aspects of recovery.

    Don’t be silly, PD. It’s all about aggregate demand. Whether or not anyone has a job, or what kind of job, is irrelevant. As long as the GDP numbers are good, we’re ALL good.

  • Ben Wolf Link

    Aggregate demand and GDP are not the same thing. In the current context I’d say they were inverse to each other.

  • ... Link

    Schuler, since I’m sure you read all comments that come in, here’s something that might pique your interest about what the recovery means:

    Near Disney World, number of homeless families soars

    In the shadow of Walt Disney World, Osceola County has one of the highest rates of homeless families in the nation, and the problem continues to grow at an “astonishing” rate, officials told more than 300 community leaders Wednesday.

    The number of homeless school-age children and parents rose by 54 percent to more than 5,000 in the past year alone, according to a new report commissioned by county government. Current programs aimed at helping those families get back on their feet have enough funding to help fewer than 10 percent of them.

    “These families are not getting out of homelessness on their own,” said Andrae Bailey, executive director of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, which co-hosted a conference on what Bailey called the “single largest social issue” facing Osceola County. “A lot of these families have working parents. The whole concept of ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ doesn’t apply.”

    Makes me wonder exactly what the Hell “recovery” is supposed to mean….

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