The Washington Post

The 20 best- and worst-performing metro economies on this map might surprise you

(Mark Elias/Bloomberg.)

For the nation’s metropolitan areas, the economic recovery is projected to slow down this year.

Last year, metros saw 2.5 percent growth, as measured by total real gross metropolitan product. This year, that will likely be something closer to 1.6 percent, IHS Global Insight projects in a report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Council on Metro Economies and the New American City. Economies in 290 metros expanded last year, compared with 265 the year before. But, this year, that number is projected to be 244 (out of a total 363).

“Energy will continue to fuel economic gains, and the metros of Texas will again top the list of fastest growers; this year they will be joined by Fargo and Bismarck, ND both of which are benefiting from booming growth around the Bakken Shale play,” the report’s authors write. Some of the other fastest growers made the list because they fell so far during the recession thanks to the housing bubble.

While many metros will see economic growth, it will be slow-going for much of that group. Some 93 metro areas will see growth of less than 1 percent. And almost exactly one-third—119—will see no or negative growth.

“The impact of sequestration, the federal shutdown, and tepid economic growth in Europe has hindered the U.S. economy this year,” the report’s authors write. “[E]mployment will grow only 1.5%, real gross product will expand by 1.7% and real income will rise by 1.4% – with metropolitan areas again providing the vast majority of that growth.”

Metropolitan areas offer a key insight into the performance of the economy as a whole. Last year, they were home to 92 percent of new jobs and 89 percent of economic growth, according to the report. This year, they are projected to be responsible for 86 percent of new jobs and 90 percent of economic gains—as measured by real gross domestic product growth.

Metro economies are expected to enjoy a broader rebound in 2014, but only if the automatic federal spending cuts under sequestration and the threat of further federal government shutdowns are removed.

“The US economy cannot afford to be stifled or endangered by avoidable, self-manufactured crises similar to that to which it was exposed to in October,” the report concludes.

Take a look at some of the best- and worst-performing metro regions in the map below. (The best are represented by black markers with factory icons; the worst are represented by red icons with white flags.)

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.