Great Lakes Metropolitan Areas Enjoy Stronger Economic Recovery Than National Counterparts

Cities in the Great Lakes region are recovering from the Great Recession at a faster pace than their national counterparts, according to a recent report released from the Brookings Institution.

Akron, Grand Rapids, Toledo and Youngstown all ranked among the top-20 performing metropolitan areas in the country.

All but one of the Great Lakes’ 21 metro areas has gained jobs since reaching its unemployment trough. Grand Rapids has seen its unemployment rate decline by 4.3 percent since reaching its high in the third quarter of 2009.

Youngstown showed a 19 percent growth rate in manufacturing jobs from the second quarter of 2010 to second quarter 2011. The metropolitan area has regained 30 percent of the overall number of manufacturing jobs lost. The report noted Detroit’s recovery has been stronger than most other U.S. metropolitan areas.

While auto-producing metro areas in the Great Lakes are generally enjoying a recovery since the throes of the recession, they stumbled in the second quarter of 2011. Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Dayton and Toledo all saw output and employment drop in the quarter.

The Atlantic’s Nate Berg says the report’s up-and-down conclusions emphasize the need to avoid painting a potential economic recovery with a general brush.

“In some senses, the metropolitan areas of the Great Lakes appear to be persevering through the recession,” he writes, adding, “this mixed bag of increases and declines is an indication of the complexities of recovery. The process is clearly not over yet, but at least some gains in employment offer hope.”

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