Here Are the 15 Cities That Have Done the Best (and the Worst) Since the Recession

If you live in a town with shale or silicon, you've probably done pretty well

San Jose is No. 3.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

This month marks six years since the end of the U.S. recession. In those six years, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has climbed more than 200 percent from its lowest level and the national unemployment rate has almost halved from a peak of 10 percent. By these measures, the overall economy seems to be doing pretty well. But this isn't the case for everyone. When you drill down and look at U.S. cities separately, some have fared even better while others have yet to see a recovery. 

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, senior economist at Glassdoor, crunched the numbers to come up with a "recovery index" for U.S. cities. To do this, he looked at three major trends: unemployment, the number of jobs, and wages. Combining all of these together gives us Glassdoor's recovery index. It's basically the sum of the decrease in the unemployment rate plus the change in total employment and the change in average hourly wages since 2009.

The higher a metropolitan area is on the index, the better its economic health, Chamberlain says. So let's take a look at the results.

First up are the 15 cities at the top of the recovery index.

Five come from Texas, which isn't necessarily surprising given the shale oil boom in the state in recent years. Least surprising of all is perhaps that No. 3 on the list is the Silicon Valley hub of San Jose




Now let's take a look at the bottom 15 on the recovery index.

The overall worst-off on the list is Ocean City, N.J. Other names in the bottom 15 include Carson City, Nev.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Decatur, Ill.; and Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

Source: Glassdoor


If you want to drill down into each of the three major components of the recovery index, take a look at some of the charts below.

The first shows the level of unemployment for the top 15 cities. Burlington, N.C., was in the lead with a 6.7 percent drop. If you take all of the cities into account, Monroe, Mich., saw the biggest decrease at 9.8 percent. 


When looking at the number of jobs in the city, Midland, Texas, took the No. 1 spot in both our top 15 list and the total list with a 29.7 percent increase in the number of people employed. 


The last statistic Glassdoor looked at was the growth in average hourly wages. Midland was once again the winner in both the top 15 and the overall list with a 27.4 percent increase. 


When it comes to the bottom 15 on the recovery index, three of the cities saw their unemployment rates actually increase since 2009. 


Then looking at the percentage of people employed in the city, only one of the bottom 15 actually saw that increase, meaning 14 of them had a fewer percentage of people employed today than at the end of the recession. 



Last, there's wage growth, where three of these cities saw average hourly wages fall. Decatur, Ill., fared the worst with a 12.6 percent decrease. 





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