In 2007, about 79 million of 106 million adults aged 25 to 64 in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas were working, equating to an employment ratio of 74.8 percent (Figure 1). This ratio dipped in 2010 to 72 percent, as 1 million fewer adults were working that year, even though their overall numbers had increased by nearly 3 million. By 2013, the employment level among 25 to 64 year-olds had rebounded to 82 million, but that still represented only 73.3 percent of the total population in that age range. As such, these metro areas in the aggregate fell short of their pre-recession employment ratio by 1.5 percentage points, or the equivalent of 1.6 million workers in 2013.
Two-thirds of major metro areas had a lower prime-age employment ratio in 2013 than in 2007.
As Figure 1 illustrates, the 2007 to 2013 period captures periods of both steep downturn and slow recovery of the U.S. labor market. In the vast majority of metro areas (86 of 100), the employment ratio declined from 2007 to 2010. In half, the ratio then increased from 2010 to 2013 (50 of 100). Yet in most cases, that later increase failed to fully offset a steep initial drop.
Six years on, 65 metropolitan labor markets still posted lower employment ratios in 2013 for prime-age workers than before the Great Recession began (Figure 2). The steepest employment ratio declines, of 5 percent or more, occurred in mid-Florida metro areas and Sacramento, CA, all of which continued to suffer from the late-2000s housing crash. Las Vegas and Riverside exhibited similarly large declines. The other 35 metro areas managed to recover their pre-recession ratios. Metro areas in Texas, the upper Midwest, and the San Francisco Bay Area, among others, were part of this group.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at A Look at New Employment Data for Metropolitan Labor Markets | Brookings Institution.