Ten years after the start of the so-called Great Recession, the overall U.S. economy has rebounded, but a new report shows recovery has not been even across country.
While the unemployment rate is at a record low, and household income is back to its peak from 1999, parts of the country have not seen growth, and in some cases, the economic conditions are worse than ever.
According to the Associated Press, many cities in the South and Midwest “have yet to recover from the loss of manufacturing jobs that have been automated out of existence or lost to competition from China, before and during the recession.”
“There’s definitely a pattern of the coasts pulling away from the middle of the country on income,” Alan Berube, an expert on metro U.S. economies at the Brookings Institution, told the AP. “There are a large number of places around the country that haven’t gotten back to where they were 15 years ago, never mind 10 years ago.”
AP cites two cities, Seattle and Las Vegas, as indicative of the growing disparity.
Seattle is home to online retail behemoth Amazon, and according to AP, the area where the company put its headquarters “expanded eight-fold over the next seven years to fill 36 buildings.” The area has also become a nightlife hotspot, according to the AP.
Las Vegas, on the other hand, is home to wide swaths of half-finished houses, and families there earn 20 percent less, on average, than they did in 2007, the AP said.
These trends are at work nationally. AP said that in the western United States inflation was three percent in October, but just 1.5 percent in the Midwest and New England.
“It’s the first time I have noticed a persistent spread between inflation in one area and the rest of the country,” Steve Cochrane, an economist at Moody’s Analytics who has studied regional economics for 25 years, told AP.
“A few cities have grown much richer, thanks to their grip on an outsize share of lucrative tech jobs and soaring home prices. Others have thrived because of surging oil and gas production,” AP wrote, adding the recovery has, in some cases made regional economic disparities worse.