What does a successful economy look like? Regular economic news coverage suggests that success is defined largely by growing U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), expanding jobs, falling unemployment, and rising stock prices.
Growth was widespread in 2017, but entrepreneurship declined over the decade.
Prosperity rose in most places in 2017, but standards of living remain below 2007 levels in many metros.
Most metro areas grew more inclusive in 2017, but earnings in many have yet to reach pre-recession levels.
Metro areas made some progress on racial inclusion in 2017, but very little overall since 2007.
Truly inclusive economic growth remains rare in metro America, in both the short and long runs
From 2016 to 2017, the number of metro areas making positive progress on all three indicators in each Metro Monitor category was: 77 for growth, 71 for prosperity, 24 for inclusion, and 24 for racial inclusion. Because relatively few metro areas made inclusion gains, just two—Charlotte, N.C. and Los Angeles—managed across-the-board improvements in growth, prosperity, and inclusion in 2017, while also shrinking disparities by race and ethnicity (not all of their improvements in inclusion and racial inclusion were statistically significant, however.) Notably, two metro areas fell just short of this group in 2017: San Diego experienced a slight decline in entrepreneurship, while Syracuse shed a small number of jobs. Overall, the trend indicates how inclusive economic growth still evaded most metro areas even as the national economy continued to expand strongly.
Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, most metro areas (64) made progress on all three prosperity indicators, but only a minority did so on inclusion (29), racial inclusion (26), and growth (10). As a result, only one metro area—Denver—posted across-the-board improvements in all four areas. It boasted a growing, dynamic economy that boosted wages and standards of living, drew more people into the labor market, reduced poverty, and narrowed disparities by race and ethnicity (an additional four metro areas—Chattanooga and Knoxville in Tennessee, El Paso, and Los Angeles—made consistent progress in all areas except entrepreneurship, which fell in most metro areas from 2007 to 2017.) These relatively rare instances of inclusive economic growth demonstrate that even as most metro areas have rebounded to pre-recession levels of output, jobs, and living standards, other changes in the economy and labor market have mostly served to widen their gaps by race and income.
Metro Monitor 2019 Dashboard
Inclusion by race
Interactive by Alec Friedhoff.
Report Produced by Metropolitan Policy Program