Six Years Later, 93% of U.S. Counties Haven’t Recovered From Recession, Study Finds – Real Time Economics

Denver County is one of just 17 with more than 500,000 residents to have fully recovered from the recession, a study from the National Association of Counties found.


More than six years after the economic expansion began, 93% of counties in the U.S. have failed to fully recover from the blow they suffered during the recession.

Nationwide, 214 counties, or 7% of 3,069, had recovered last year to prerecession levels on four indicators: total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values, a study from the National Association of Counties released Tuesday found.

The reality is slowing population growth and industry shifts mean some parts of the country will likely never fully recover. But by the end of last year, more counties had not recovered on any one of the four indicators, 16%, than had recovered on all of them.

“Americans don’t live in a single economic place,” said Emilia Istrate, the association’s director of research and outreach and one of the study’s authors. “It tells you why many Americans don’t feel the good economic numbers they see on TV.”

As was the case in 2014, when just 65 counties had fully recovered, most of those that bounced back are in states benefiting from the energy boom. Last year, 72 of the recovered counties were in Texas, the most of any state. Nebraska followed with 22. Minnesota, Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas each had at least 10 fully recovered counties.

Meanwhile, in 27 states, not a single county had fully recovered.

Some of the nation’s largest counties finally recovered from the recession in 2015, including the counties containing Denver, San Francisco, San Jose, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio. In 2014, no county with more than 500,000 residents had fully recovered. Last year, 17 of 126 had.

The recovery is spreading out from the energy-rich center of the country—in part because a massive drop in oil prices is reversing job creation there while providing an economic benefit to larger metro areas near the coasts.

Numerous counties on the West Coast, Nevada, New York, Florida and the Carolinas recorded better than 4% economic growth last year, the NACo study found. (The entire country appears to be growing at about a 2% rate.) But a large swath of counties in Texas, Illinois and other states in the middle of the country suffered economic contractions last year.

The following counties has returned to prerecession levels of total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values by the end of 2015:

  • Anchorage Borough, Alaska
  • Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska
  • Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska
  • Marin County, Calif.
  • San Francisco County, Calif.
  • San Mateo County, Calif.
  • Santa Clara County, Calif.
  • Denver County, Colo.
  • Dolores County, Colo.
  • Minidoka County, Idaho
  • Clark County, Ind.
  • Elkhart County, Ind.
  • Gibson County, Ind.
  • LaGrange County, Ind.
  • Marshall County, Ind.
  • Steuben County, Ind.
  • Vanderburgh County, Ind.
  • Adams County, Iowa
  • Clayton County, Iowa
  • Dubuque County, Iowa
  • Jefferson County, Iowa
  • Johnson County, Iowa
  • O’Brien County, Iowa
  • Plymouth County, Iowa
  • Story County, Iowa
  • Douglas County, Kan.
  • Ellis County, Kan.
  • Greeley County, Kan.
  • Hamilton County, Kan.
  • Haskell County, Kan.
  • Hodgeman County, Kan.
  • Johnson County, Kan.
  • Leavenworth County, Kan.
  • Miami County, Kan.
  • Mitchell County, Kan.
  • Norton County, Kan.
  • Rawlins County, Kan.
  • Rush County, Kan.
  • Russell County, Kan.
  • Stevens County, Kan.
  • Wyandotte County, Kan.
  • Bullitt County, Ky.
  • Calloway County, Ky.
  • Campbell County, Ky.
  • Jefferson County, Ky.
  • Madison County, Ky.
  • Marshall County, Ky.
  • Nelson County, Ky.
  • Oldham County, Ky.
  • Scott County, Ky.
  • Shelby County, Ky.
  • Washington County, Ky.
  • Barry County, Mich.
  • Kent County, Mich.
  • Ottawa County, Mich.
  • Blue Earth County, Minn.
  • Carlton County, Minn.
  • Clay County, Minn.
  • Le Sueur County, Minn.
  • Marshall County, Minn.
  • Nicollet County, Minn.
  • Olmsted County, Minn.
  • Pennington County, Minn.
  • Polk County, Minn.
  • Rock County, Minn.
  • Benton County, Miss.
  • Union County, Miss.
  • Custer County, Mont.
  • Dawson County, Mont.
  • Deer Lodge County, Mont.
  • Fallon County, Mont.
  • McCone County, Mont.
  • Meagher County, Mont.
  • Musselshell County, Mont.
  • Powder River County, Mont.
  • Powell County, Mont.
  • Richland County, Mont.
  • Roosevelt County, Mont.
  • Sheridan County, Mont.
  • Valley County, Mont.
  • Box Butte County, Neb.
  • Chase County, Neb.
  • Cheyenne County, Neb.
  • Clay County, Neb.
  • Dawson County, Neb.
  • Douglas County, Neb.
  • Dundy County, Neb.
  • Furnas County, Neb.
  • Garden County, Neb.
  • Garfield County, Neb.
  • Gosper County, Neb.
  • Hayes County, Neb.
  • Keya Paha County, Neb.
  • Kimball County, Neb.
  • Lancaster County, Neb.
  • Loup County, Neb.
  • Perkins County, Neb.
  • Red Willow County, Neb.
  • Sarpy County, Neb.
  • Saunders County, Neb.
  • Thurston County, Neb.
  • Wayne County, Neb.
  • Anson County, N.C.
  • Bowman County, N.D.
  • Burleigh County, N.D.
  • Cass County, N.D.
  • Divide County, N.D.
  • Dunn County, N.D.
  • McKenzie County, N.D.
  • Mountrail County, N.D.
  • Sioux County, N.D.
  • Stark County, N.D.
  • Traill County, N.D.
  • Ward County, N.D.
  • Williams County, N.D.
  • Delaware County, Ohio
  • Fairfield County, Ohio
  • Franklin County, Ohio
  • Greene County, Ohio
  • Knox County, Ohio
  • Licking County, Ohio
  • Madison County, Ohio
  • Putnam County, Ohio
  • Union County, Ohio
  • Alfalfa County, Okla.
  • Canadian County, Okla.
  • Grady County, Okla.
  • McClain County, Okla.
  • Woods County, Okla.
  • Chesterfield County, S.C.
  • Oconee County, S.C.
  • Aurora County, S.D.
  • Anderson County, Texas
  • Andrews County, Texas
  • Atascosa County, Texas
  • Bastrop County, Texas
  • Bexar County, Texas
  • Blanco County, Texas
  • Brazos County, Texas
  • Caldwell County, Texas
  • Calhoun County, Texas
  • Collin County, Texas
  • Comal County, Texas
  • Crane County, Texas
  • Dallam County, Texas
  • Dallas County, Texas
  • Deaf Smith County, Texas
  • Denton County, Texas
  • DeWitt County, Texas
  • Dimmit County, Texas
  • Duval County, Texas
  • Ellis County, Texas
  • El Paso County, Texas
  • Fannin County, Texas
  • Fayette County, Texas
  • Frio County, Texas
  • Gaines County, Texas
  • Glasscock County, Texas
  • Grayson County, Texas
  • Grimes County, Texas
  • Guadalupe County, Texas
  • Hansford County, Texas
  • Hartley County, Texas
  • Hays County, Texas
  • Hockley County, Texas
  • Houston County, Texas
  • Hunt County, Texas
  • Jackson County, Texas
  • Johnson County, Texas
  • Karnes County, Texas
  • Kaufman County, Texas
  • Kendall County, Texas
  • Kenedy County, Texas
  • Kent County, Texas
  • La Salle County, Texas
  • Live Oak County, Texas
  • Lubbock County, Texas
  • McCulloch County, Texas
  • McLennan County, Texas
  • McMullen County, Texas
  • Maverick County, Texas
  • Medina County, Texas
  • Navarro County, Texas
  • Parker County, Texas
  • Parmer County, Texas
  • Randall County, Texas
  • Reeves County, Texas
  • Rockwall County, Texas
  • San Jacinto County, Texas
  • Schleicher County, Texas
  • Scurry County, Texas
  • Shackelford County, Texas
  • Tarrant County, Texas
  • Terrell County, Texas
  • Travis County, Texas
  • Upton County, Texas
  • Ward County, Texas
  • Webb County, Texas
  • Wharton County, Texas
  • Williamson County, Texas
  • Wilson County, Texas
  • Wise County, Texas
  • Yoakum County, Texas
  • Zapata County, Texas
  • Chittenden County, Vt.
  • Franklin County, Vt.
  • Lincoln County, Wash.
  • Calumet County, Wisc.
  • Dane County, Wisc.
  • Eau Claire County, Wisc.
  • Green County, Wisc.
  • Lafayette County, Wisc.
  • Outagamie County, Wisc.
  • Trempealeau County, Wisc.

Related reading:

Hiring Ends Year on Strong Note, but Wage Growth Remains Sluggish

Economic Growth Migrates Toward the Coasts

Unemployment Fell in Many Texas Cities, Despite the Oil Bust

In Lincoln, Neb., a View of Full Employment



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12 January 2016 | 12:34 pm – Source:


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