Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback
Slide Show

Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback

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Hundreds of cities across the country were hammered by the recession, many experiencing double-digit declines in employment, throwing thousands of their residents out of work.

For some particularly hard-hit metro areas, 2011 will bring a dramatic turnaround -- new investment by businesses, growth in the number of jobs and a reblooming of hope.


Recovering all the ground they lost will take years and many of the cities are still suffering with unemployment that exceeds the national average. But these cities are enjoying a surprising and welcome upward bounce.

Data provided by Moody\'s Analytics

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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 2 of 12

Chattanooga, Tenn.

Courtesy VW of America

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Population: 524,303

Current unemployment rate: 8.8%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 3.4%

The renaissance of carmaking in the U.S. will also brighten the picture on Tennessee’s eastern half. Employment in Chattanooga fell by just over 10% from its peak in 2008. But it will bounce up strongly this year. A large new Volkswagen assembly plant will employ up to 3,000, with auto parts and components makers also opening shop. Plus Amazon.com is considering Chattanooga for the location of two large warehouses that would employ a few thousand.

Data are for Chattanooga metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 3 of 12

Nashville

Courtesy Nissan USA

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Population: 1,582,264

Current unemployment rate: 8.8%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.8%

Home to music stars and professional athletes, the Nashville metro area will see the accounting and financial services industries add jobs this year, as well as an increase in employment at the U.S. corporate headquarters of Japanese carmaker Nissan. After plunging 7.3% during the recession, employment will climb this year by nearly 3%.

Data are for Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 4 of 12

Orlando, Fla.

AP Photo

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Population: 2,082,421

Current unemployment rate: 10.8%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.9%

Hard-hit during the recession, tourism is improving in central Florida, with more jobs at hotels and restaurants. Health care is growing, too. And a plan is under way to create a life science cluster of medical care and research, focusing on the needs of children and on veterans. After declining by almost 10% in the recession, employment in this tourist mecca will increase by 3% this year.

Data are for Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 5 of 12

Jacksonville, Fla.

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Population: 1,328,144

Current unemployment rate: 10.6%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.8%

About 8.5% of this city’s jobs disappeared during the Great Recession, but financial services firms, especially large banks, are hiring again. Other industries adding workers: hotels, health care, restaurants and warehousing.

Data are for Jacksonville metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 6 of 12

Charlotte, N.C.

Courtesy Siemens USA

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Population: 1,745,524

Current unemployment rate: 10.7%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.8%

Growth in the energy and power industries will give this city a lift in 2011. A power turbine factory being built by Siemens will account for about 1,800 new area jobs. An additional 3,000 or so will come from other energy endeavors plus financial services and even construction -- more apartments are being built.

After declining by more than 8% from its 2008 high point, employment in the Charlotte metropolitan area will grow almost 3% this year.

Data are for Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 7 of 12

Flint, Mich.

AP Photo

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Population: 424,043

Current unemployment rate: 11.8%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.6%

The health care and life sciences industries are giving long-suffering Flint a shot in the arm. Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy relocated its headquarters from the suburbs to the city, using a former auto assembly site for its offices, while both the city’s public hospital, Hurley Medical Center, and McLaren Regional Medical Center are bulking up.

Meanwhile, Flint’s traditional employer, the auto industry, is no longer at idle. General Motors -- the community’s single largest employer -- plans to start a third shift at its assembly plant in Flint for a net increase of 750 jobs, phased in over the summer. Flint's employment fell nearly 12% during the downturn, and is forecast to rise about 2.6% this year.

Data are for Flint metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 8 of 12

Las Vegas

Courtesy Zappos

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Population: 1,902,834

Current unemployment rate: 13.7%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.9%

The hospitality and tourism businesses are picking up again, but growth in the city’s best-known industries is being bolstered by gains in clean tech and e-commerce. Online retailer Zappos, for example, is expanding its base in nearby Henderson.

There’s investment, too, in health care. In recent years, availability hasn’t kept up with Sin City’s rapid population growth, and many wealthier patients have headed to California and Arizona for specialty care. Now the Cleveland Clinic, for example, is expanding its downtown Las Vegas brain health center, which focuses on aging, and the city aims to help the institution expand into other disciplines. Look for employment to grow by about 3% this year, after a 15% dive in the economic downturn.

Data are for Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 9 of 12

Phoenix

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Population: 4,364,094

Unemployment rate today: 8.8%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 1.5%

It’s renewable energy that’s fueling growth in Phoenix. One new solar manufacturing plant in the works will create 600 jobs. Another firm is investing $50 million and has committed to 500 jobs in the region. The growth in renewable energy creates jobs in construction, installation and manufacturing, as well as engineering, especially for professionals left hanging by a sluggish semiconductor sector. Aerospace, export industries and clean technologies are also gaining, while the lower cost of living in Arizona is attracting California entrepreneurs in social media and online businesses.

Still, the severe construction slowdown in an overbuilt city means Phoenix won’t bounce back as quickly from the most recent downturn as it has in the past. Employment is set to climb by about 1.5% in 2011, following a 12% decline during the downturn.

Data are for Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 10 of 12

Portland, Ore.

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Population: 2,241,841

Unemployment rate today: 10.0%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 3.4%

The Portland area is seeing significant growth in the software industry and in clean technology -- energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and batteries and wind power. Vestas, a high-tech producer of wind power systems, recently moved its North American headquarters to Portland. Vestas brought over 400 employees with it, but will also create an additional 200 jobs. ReVolt Technology, a European firm focusing on renewable battery technology, is setting up its headquarters in Portland, bringing 150 jobs to the city.

Plus the Portland Development Commission has awarded approximately $4.4 million in loans and grants to businesses, with the aim of retaining or creating about 1,000 jobs. Portland lost more than 9% of its jobs during the recession. Look for employment growth of about 3.4% this year.

Data are for Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 11 of 12

Seattle

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Population: 3,407,848

Unemployment rate today: 9.3%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.1%

Clean technology, health care, hospitality and information technology will lift employment in the Seattle area by more than 2%, following a recession hit of nearly 8%.

Boeing is adding to its workforce each month and electric utility Seattle City Light’s energy efficiency program, aimed at businesses and homes throughout the city, will create about 1,000 jobs by increasing local contractors’ business.

Data are for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area. Unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted.
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Downtrodden Cities Making a Comeback | Slide 12 of 12

San Jose, Calif.

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Population: 1,839,700

Current unemployment rate: 10.6%

Forecast job growth for 2011: 2.2%

While much of California is in the doldrums, the San Jose area is becoming a hub for alternative energy research and development, much of it funded by companies and universities based elsewhere.

The influx of tech companies is drawing young residents, and helping to offset the hit San Jose took on housing and construction during the recession.

After losing about 9% of its jobs, San Jose will add more than 19,000 jobs -- about 2% -- to payrolls this year.

Data are for San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area
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