Ten Cities That Will Take A Decade To Recover From The Recession

5. Toledo, OH
> Change in employment 2001-2011: -12.1%
> Population: 651,429
> Unemployment: 9.4%
> Poverty level: 15.4%
> Median income: $45,657

Toledo is the last of four metropolitan areas within Ohio to be included on this list. Toledo is a major center for production of auto parts and is home to major GM and Chrysler plants. The auto industry was one of the industries hit worst by the recession, and from its peak Toledo lost about 40,500 jobs. Employment has gotten somewhat better over the last few months, yet the road to recovery is still quite bumpy for the auto industry. In April 2011, 3,400 jobs in the industry were lost nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

4. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
> Change in employment 2001-2011: -13.6%
> Population: 365,497
> Unemployment: 11.7%
> Poverty level: 14.4%
> Median income: $40,181

Unemployment in Hickory, NC, soared from 2% to 16% during the recession, according to USA Today. The jobless rate has since decreased to 11.7%, although this is still significantly higher than the national average of 9.1%. The area’s economy is largely based on the production of furniture and fiber optics. Both industries have seen mass layoffs in recent years. According to an article in the Washington Post, “the region has lost more of its jobs to international competition than just about anywhere else in the nation.”

3. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI
> Change in employment 2001-2011: -15.8%
> Population: 4,296,250
> Unemployment: 11.1%
> Poverty level: 14.2%
> Median income: $52,954

Detroit was once one of the country’s largest and most industrious cities. Since 2005, the Detroit-Warren-Livonia area experienced a loss of 323,400 jobs. The recession was particularly hard on the area.  As it is located at the heart of the nation’s auto industry, The Motor City was  devastated by the Chapter 11 filings of GM and Chrysler. Although lower now, unemployment almost reached 30% in late 2009.

2. Flint, MI
> Change in employment 2001-2011: -15.8%
> Population: 425,790
> Unemployment: 10.8%
> Poverty level: 17.3%
> Median income: $44,376

Flint is another city which has struggled due to the decline of the US auto industry. In this way, the city’s problems cannot be fully attributed to the recession — the US was already losing market share to Japanese auto companies before 2007. In 1960, General Motors, which was started in Flint, employed 80,000 people there. Today, it employs fewer than 8,000. Home values have dropped 10% in the last 12 months, and the city has a vacancy rate of 14%.

1. Reno-Sparks, NV
> Change in employment from peak: -16%
> Population: 425,417
> Unemployment: 11.7%
> Poverty level: 11.7%
> Median income: $55,578

Although Nevada was one of 24 states to see a decrease in unemployment this past May, unemployment increased in Reno. The city’s economy relies on gaming and tourism, two industries which have been hit extremely hard by the recession. Additionally, about “25% of the [city’s] workforce is employed in the fields of construction, manufacturing, transportation, communications, public utilities, and finance related services,” according to  Reno’s website. These sectors cannot flourish without the development produced by gaming within the city. It will now take more than a decade for the 36,000 jobs lost in the metropolitan area during the recession to return to the area, according to IHS.

Charles B. Stockdale

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