Greater New Orleans #1 Growing Metro Area for Employment

Recent economic reports point to a continued slow pace of national economic recovery during the summer of 2012. Yet even earlier in the second quarter of 2012, the nation’s major metropolitan economies exhibited tremendous variation in their recovery progress.

This edition of the Metro Monitor finds that during the second quarter of 2012, both employment and output growth decelerated across most of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, after relatively fast growth during the first quarter. Unemployment rates continued to fall in more than half of all metropolitan areas, but remained above 6 percent in all but 12 metro areas. Housing prices, on the other hand, hit new lows in 87 of the 100 largest metro areas, reflecting a housing market yet to recover in most areas.

The extent of the economic recovery was strong in Texas and Oklahoma metro areas, where the recession was relatively mild and natural gas has boomed; in certain high-tech metro areas like Austin, Boston, Portland, San Jose, and Seattle; in portions of the Mountain West where house prices have started to stabilize (Boise, Phoenix, Provo, and Salt Lake City); and in some manufacturing centers near the Great Lakes (Detroit, Grand Rapids, Toledo, and Youngstown). By contrast, the recovery has proceeded more slowly in the Northeast where metro areas have generally followed modest growth trajectories less characterized by large boom and bust growth cycles. Among the slowest to recover within this group have been the government centers of Albany and Harrisburg, a theme that extended to other capitals and military metro areas like Honolulu, Little Rock, and Virginia Beach.

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