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Ryan Avent / The Economist / May 7, 2013
The Economist’s Ryan Avent looks at two measures of metro performance, inbound migration and the change in local Gross Domestic Product output per person, to rank cities by performance. He’s come up with a 10 best-performing list, and 10 worst. Worth tinkering into housing projection models.
THIS week’s print edition includes a look at the changing trajectory of the American recovery. From 2007 to 2011 many of the extreme points in America’s metropolitan distribution, in employment terms, could be found in the Sunbelt: cities in Texas and Oklahoma were among the few metropolitan areas to manage net employment gains over the period while those in the Southwest and Atlantic Southeast performed miserably, notching some of the highest unemployment rates of the downturn. Since 2011, however, the relatively rapid job growth has spread across the Sunbelt, which now seems to be outperforming most of the country’s other regions. California’s large metro areas have joined cities like Phoenix and Atlanta alongside Dallas and Houston, which job growth in cities like Boston and Minneapolis has fallen down the league tables a bit.
As the piece notes, the initial divide largely reflected differing experiences in housing, and the reconvergence correspondingly owes something to the nationwide improvement in housing. But in the Sunbelt that improvement, and the broader resurgence in Sunbelt economic activity, is very much associated with the continuation of a great sunward migration that has helped reshape America for a generation. Migration into the South and West slowed during the crisis and recession but it didn’t stop. From 2011 to 2012, according to the latest Census estimates, even Clark County, Nevada cracked the list of counties with the biggest increase in population, despite a double-digit unemployment rate in Las Vegas.