Special Report

The Nine American Cities Nearly Destroyed by the Recession

5. Flint, MI
> Pct. jobs recovered: 2.8%
> Q4 2012 jobs: 131,700
> Pre-recession jobs peak: 151,300
> Recession jobs trough: 131,100
> Pct. jobs lost: 13.3%

Flint’s economy, which is primarily based on auto manufacturing, has been suffering for a number of years. In the first quarter of 2007, employment reached its peak with over 151,300 residents employed. By the end of the first quarter of 2012, IHS projects employment to reach a floor, after a loss of over 20,000 positions. Recovery, is seems, will also be slow as only 600 jobs are projected to be recovered by the end of the year, or just 2.8% of jobs lost. The value of exports from the region has dropped 81.9% since 2005 — one of the largest decreases in the country. This, of course, has had a huge effect on Flint’s economy and population. Poverty rate in the area has risen to 21%, one of the worst rates in the country.

4. Champaign-Urbana, IL
> Pct. jobs recovered: 2.7%
> Q4 2012 jobs: 105,400
> Pre-recession jobs peak: 114,200
> Recession jobs trough: 105,100
> Pct. jobs lost: 7.9%

Unlike much of the country, unemployment in Champaign-Urbana actually increased from 9.1% to 10% between June and November of 2011. The region’s employment peaked late, in the third quarter of 2008, when 114,000 residents were employed. By the second quarter of this year, IHS projects the region to lose 7.9% of those jobs. Through the rest of the year, the area will regain only 2.7% of jobs lost. Many of the jobs lost in the area have been government jobs, especially in the education sector, which were cut due to budget constraints.

3. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA
> Pct. jobs recovered: 1.9%
> Q4 2012 jobs: 160,500
> Pre-recession jobs peak: 174,300
> Recession jobs trough: 160,300
> Pct. jobs lost: 8%

As of the first quarter of 2012, the Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta metropolitan statistical area is projected to lose 14,000 jobs, or 8% of its employment peak of 174,300 person workforce. By the end of this year, just 200 of those positions might be recovered, according to the report. The region has suffered greatly from the housing bust. Its housing market has not yet fully recovered, which has also hurt major industries such as construction.

2. Reno-Sparks, NV
> Pct. jobs recovered: 1.6%
> Q4 2012 jobs: 187,600
> Pre-recession jobs peak: 225,200
> Recession jobs trough: 187,000
> Pct. jobs lost: 16.9%

Between 2007 and 2010, the median home value in Reno-Sparks, Nevada declined 37.4%, the 13th biggest drop in the country among metro areas. The problems of the recession have plagued states in the southwest, which once had booming housing markets, arguably more than any other part in the country. From the beginning of 2007 to the third quarter of this year, jobs are projected to decline by 38,200, or 16.9% of the workforce. And according to the report, only 600 jobs, a mere 1.6%, will be recovered by the end of the year.

1. Carson City, NV
> Pct. jobs recovered: 0%
> Q4 2012 jobs: 28,200
> Pre-recession jobs peak: 33,300
> Recession jobs trough: 28,200
> Pct. jobs lost: 15.1%

Carson City, Nevada has the dubious honor to be the only metropolitan area that is not projected to recover any jobs at all this year. The region has lost thousands of jobs during the recession, and will continue to lose them through the end of 2012. By the end of this year, the region is projected to lose 4,800 jobs from the beginning of 2007, according to the report. It is the only area not to reach a bottom this year so that it could start recovering. Between June and November of last year, the region lost roughly 600 government jobs. Between 2005 and 2009, the metro region’s exports dropped $94 million, or nearly 40%.


24/7 Wall St. obtained much of the information used to evaluate the metropolitan statistical areas directly from the IHS Global Insights report. The global information company compiled median household income and export merchandise figures from the Census Bureau, employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and home price data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Census Bureau. 24/7 Wall St. also considered change in home values between 2007-2010, median income, and poverty rates from the Census Bureau. The calculation of job recovery, upon which these metro areas are ranked, is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics job estimates. Jobs were rounded to the nearest thousand. The percent recovery and percent jobs lost is based on the full BLS calculated employment values.

-Michael B. Sauter, Ashley C. Allen, Charles B. Stockdale