Ten Cities Crushed by the Global Recession

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10. Richmond, U.S.
> Change in employment (2010 – 2011): -1%
> Change in income (2010 – 2011): +0.2%
> Population: 1.27 million
> Income per capita: $48,083
> GDP: $61 billion

The city of Richmond, Va., experienced the 10th slowest economic growth among the world’s largest cities last year. Employment dropped 1% between 2010 and 2011 while the U.S.’s increased 0.9% during the same time period. The reason, according to the report, is because the city relies heavily on government jobs — more than one in six jobs, according to the BLS. Government employment, though, is one of the few areas that continues to worsen on a national level. In addition to government, Richmond’s economy also relies on its port, which further exposes the city to the slowed global economy. According to Senior Research Analyst Emilia Istrate, continuing difficulties in the eurozone have hurt international trade. This has affected Richmond more than other major U.S. cities.

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9. Valencia, Spain
> Change in employment (2010 – 2011): -0.9%
> Change in income (2010 – 2011): -0.2%
> Population: 2.56 million
> Income per capita: $23,165
> GDP: $59 billion

Most of the eurozone struggled during the recession. Several countries, including Spain, Portugal and Italy, were hit particularly hard. Employment in many of the eurozone’s major metropolitan areas generally worsened, but none suffered as much as Valencia, Spain. In a single year during the recession, the number of employed people in the country dropped by 10%. Between 2010 and 2011, employment declined another full percentage point and income declined 0.2%. Valencia is one of just 12 large cities in the world to experience a decline in both income and employment last year.

8. Barcelona, Spain
> Change in employment (2010 – 2011): -1.2%
> Change in income (2010 – 2011): +0.2%
> Population: 5.43 million
> Income per capita: $29,767
> GDP: $162 billion

Like Valencia and the other major Spanish cities, Barcelona has been hurt by Spain’s floundering economy and a national unemployment rate in excess of 20%. According to Brookings, the metropolitan region experienced particularly strong growth and then an even worse crash, similar to the one seen in Las Vegas. During the prerecession boom, between 1997 and 2007, employment increased an average of 3.3% per year, one of the highest rates in Europe. Housing construction overwhelmingly fueled growth in Barcelona. The collapse has been as severe and Barcelona remains one of the slowest growing cities in the world, with a 1.2% drop in employment between 2010 and 2011 and income barely rising.

7. Naples, Italy
> Change in employment (2010 – 2011): -1.1%
> Change in income (2010 – 2011): -0.1%
> Population: 3.98 million
> Income per capita: $17,723
> GDP: $70 billion

Italy is on the verge of a recession following implementation of strict austerity measures. While most of the large European cities were severely affected by their respective country’s collapsing economy, this was not always the case. In Italy, for example, according to Brookings: “Venice-padova posted modest growth in income and employment thanks to a strengthening business and financial services sector, ranking it 130th overall.” Meanwhile, Naples “shed jobs and stagnated on income, ranking it 194th overall.” Between 2008 and 2009, employment decreased by 3.7%, and an additional 1.8% the following year. Between 2010 and 2011, it dropped another 1.1%, even as national employment in Italy actually increased slightly.

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6. Madrid, Spain
> Change in employment (2010 – 2011): -1.4%
> Change in income (2010 – 2011): +0.1%
> Population: 6.4 million
> Income per capita: $33,208
> GDP: $212 billion

Madrid is the third Spanish city on the list. It is also the country’s capital. Before the recession (between 1993 and 2007), Madrid’s employment was growing at an annual rate of 3.7%. Between 2008 and 2009, it dropped 5.7%, and has since dropped an additional 2%. Income fell more than 5% between 2008 and 2010, but actually increased slightly last year. Earlier this month, the Spanish government announced the first set of austerity measures to be imposed. This likely will have an immediate impact on the hundreds of thousands of government employees in the capital city.