Nearly Every U.S. City Can Expect a Good 2014

January 23, 2014

Nearly every city in the U.S. is expected to see economic growth in 2014, according to a new report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The city expected to lead the country in economic growth and job gains is Naples, Fla. 

Other large cities expected to see big growth this year: Raleigh, N.C.; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas, according to the report, which was conducted by IHS Global Insight. 

Cities that were hit hard by the decline in manufacturing or the housing crisis are also forecasted to see a big turnaround. For example, Youngstown, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y., are expected to see economic growth of 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. 

"The key thing in the northeast was the stabilization of housing," says Jim Diffley, a senior director at IHS and lead author of the report. "When prices normalized and people weren't underwater anymore, small but positive job growth has been able to stimulate spending.''

One of the biggest turnaround towns is expected to be Shreveport, La., which, the report shows, will grow by 1.6 percent after a 5.2 percent decrease last year. 

College towns, such as Austin, Charlottesville, Va., and Lawrence, Kan., are expected to be strong performers this year. However, large urban areas, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, are expected to grow more slowly than the national average. Diffley says that many large cities such as those have already recovered many of the local jobs that had been lost in the recession, and that’s why they likely will only experience slow growth this year. 

Overall, IHS predicts that 340 of 363 metro areas will see their economies grow by at least 1 percent this year. That’s an increase from 183 metros last year. What’s more, 69 of those metros are expected to see growth of 3 percent or more. Only seven of the 363 metro areas will likely not see their economies grow this year, still an improvement over last year’s 97 metros that saw their economies stagnate. 

"Two thirds of metros have still not gotten back to 2007 or 2008 peak levels of employment, and half of those won't get there for another three years,'' Diffley says. "Financial crises do not produce normal recessions in the U.S."

Source: “U.S. mayors: Economy's gains will spread widely,” USA Today (Jan. 22, 2014)

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