Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Only 16 of 384 areas show employment growth in latest Adversity Index


By Bill Dedman
Investigative reporter
updated 11:13 a.m. ET, Tues., April 20, 2010

The recovery remains jobless for most of the nation, with only 16 of 384 metro areas showing job gains in the past year, according to new Adversity Index data for February from Moody's Economy.com and msnbc.com.

Of the nation's 384 metro areas, 205 had begun to recover, or 53 percent, according to the February Adversity Index. That's up from 185 metro areas in January, or 48 percent.

But the gains have been confined to manufacturing and housing, not employment.

Moreover, the only areas showing jobs growth are low-population areas. Here is a list of the 16 areas (only 4 percent of the total) showing job gains in the three-month period ending February 2010 compared with the same period a year earlier. They're ranked by annualized growth in jobs:

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The largest of those areas — Killeen, Yakima and Barnstable — each have only about 300,000 people.

You can follow the fortunes of each metro area in the nation on our interactive map, which gives details for each metro area and state for the past 15 years.

Job losses in big cities
The 20 largest metro areas all showed jobs loss from a year earlier. Listed by size of metro area:

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Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., -4.3

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Although the economy is starting to expand, businesses are squeezing additional work out of the workers they have, not hiring more.

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The good news is that the March employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the largest net job gain since March 2007, before the recession had begun.

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"Recovering" doesn't mean "recovered." It doesn't mean that an area's economy is above where it was at the beginning of the recession, just that the area has begun to dig its way out of the hole.

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Overall, the index shows 205 [out of 384] metro areas in recovery; 177 in a "moderating recession," meaning their economies were still shrinking but not so severely as a few months earlier; a single metro area still in a full-bore recession: Laredo, Texas; and a single area in expansion, Jacksonville, N.C.

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Our interactive map shows the economic health of every state and metro area. You can "play" the map on this page to watch the economy's ups and downs over 15 years, or select any state to see data for each metro area for each month.
A month-by-month chart shows when the current recession enveloped each metro area.
The updated index will be published every month at adversity.msnbc.com. There is a lag of about six weeks.
An explainer tells how the Adversity Index assesses the economy.
Many areas include multiple counties, and many cross state lines. This list shows which counties are within each metro area.


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