Alan Berube, Brookings -- The Great Recession created some of the toughest employment conditions that American workers experienced in the postwar period. The economy overall shed 8.7 million jobs in 2008 and 2009, and the unemployment rate reached a 25-year high of 10 percent in 2009. That year, more than 14 million Americans were looking for work but unable to find it, more than double the number before the recession started.
As Brookings’ Metro Monitor has demonstrated, however, the impacts of the recession have varied widely across the nation’s major metropolitan economies. This owes to several factors, including differing industrial specializations and house-price trends across metro areas, as my colleague Jonathan Rothwell has shown. In assessing the economic health of major metro areas, the Metro Monitor incorporates, among other indicators, BLS data on unemployment rates, which reflect that the vast majority of areas still have a higher unemployment rate than pre-recession.