Mayors: Recovery to pick up steam despite hiring lag

According to the annual forecast compiled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and consulting firm IHS Global Insight, U.S. metropolitan areas will be slow to regain pre-recession employment levels this year—but the nation’s economic recovery is expected to begin speeding up as 2011 progresses

According to the annual forecast compiled by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and consulting firm IHS Global Insight, U.S. metropolitan areas will be slow to regain pre-recession employment levels this year—but the nation’s economic recovery is expected to begin speeding up as 2011 progresses.

The group anticipates that the U.S. gross domestic project (GDP) will jump from sluggish 1.9% growth during the first half of 2011 to 3.5% for the second half.

By December 2014, over half of all U.S. metropolitan areas will have returned to their previous peak employment level, according to USCM. The group also projects that out of the 363 metro areas surveyed for its forecast report, 75 will experience double-digit unemployment rates by December 2011, with 48 not expected to return to peak employment until after 2020.

Other predictions made by USCM include:

  • Job growth in 2011 will reach just 1.2%, only a bit higher than underlying labor force growth, resulting in an unemployment rate that will only slowly retreat from its current rate of 9.1%.
  • Unemployment will end 2011 at 8.6%, and not fall below 8% until late 2013.
  • Only in the first half of 2014 will employment match its previous peak level of early 2008.
  • By the end of 2011, 75 metro areas will have double-digit unemployment rates, and 193 metros (53%) will have rates higher than 8%.
  • At the end of 2012, 311 metro areas will have unemployment rates above 6%; 173 metros will have rates above 8%; and 69 metros above 10%.
  • Metro areas are forecast to comprise over 86.4% of all payroll additions through 2015.
  • Unemployment rates are expected to exceed 10% in 69 metro areas; 9% in over 100 metros; and 8% in 173 metros until the end of 2012.

USCM cautioned that its forecasts are based on the assumption that the U.S. Congress will extend the debt ceiling without any disruptions to the national and global financial systems.

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