February 15, 2016

NACo Report Highlights Uneven Economic Recovery

Chris Mitchell

In January, NACo came out with a new report that illustrates the uneven economic recovery taking place around the country and underscores the profound changes to the nation’s economy which President Obama alluded to in last month’s State of the Union.

County Economies 2015 tracks the economic performance of the nation’s 3,069 counties according to four criteria: unemployment rate, jobs, economic output, and median home prices. While 2015 was an impressive growth year for many areas of the country, only 7 percent of all counties have recovered to pre-recession levels on all four indicators. More than double that number, 16 percent, have not recovered on any indicator. A staggering 28 percent of counties measured falling real wages and productivity gains between 2009 and 2014.

The NACo report is another reminder that macro-economic indicators often mask the geographic disparities in economic gains. The US has, as President Obama put it, the “strongest, most durable economy in the world,” but maintaining our global edge means more effectively tackling the “profound” economic challenges that disproportionately disadvantage many communities in America.

Check out your own county’s economic profile at County Economies 2015.