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Portfolio > Economy & Markets > Economic Trends

15 U.S. cities that were almost recession-proof

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The Great Recession of 2008 may have been a short-term challenge for some, while the effects are very much ongoing for others. A recent report by WalletHub measures the progress of local economies and how they’ve been able to bounce back.

Part of the results stem from a comparison of the 150 largest cities in the United States, across 17 key economic indicators. These indicators are listed below with their corresponding weights. For each metric except “Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Filing,” WalletHub analyzed the change between its pre- and post-recession levels. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available only at the state level, according to WalletHub.

Category 1: Employment and earning opportunities – Total Weight: 5

  • Unemployment Rate: Double Weight

  • Inflow of College-Educated Workers (%): Full Weight

  • Ratio of Part-Time to Full-Time Jobs: Full Weight

  • Median Household Income: Full Weight

  • Labor-Force Participation Rate: Double Weight

Category 2: Economic environment – Total Weight: 5

  • Median Home Price: Full Weight

  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight

  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight

  • Percentage of Households Receiving Public Assistance: Full Weight

  • Population Size: Full Weight

  • Bankruptcy: Half* Weight

  • Number of Businesses: Full Weight

  • Average Experian Vantage Credit Score: Full Weight

  • Consumer Non-Housing Debt: Full Weight

  • Violent-Crime Rate: Full Weight

  • GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product): Full Weight

  • Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Filing: Double Weight

The sources that WalletHub used to create these rankings include: the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States Courts, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Zillow Real Estate research, Experian and Governing.

Below, we list the top 15 cities, out of a total of 150, that have bounced back positively from the Great Recession, with their corresponding numbers for overall ranking, and their rankings in each of the two categories listed above. The list also includes other rankings that WalletHub generated in different categories, including:

  • Highest home price appreciation

  • Highest decrease of poverty rate

  • Highest decrease in the ratio of part-time to full-time jobs

  • Highest decrease in unemployment rate

  • Highest decrease in violent-crime rate 

Check out the 15 U.S. cities that were hurt the most by the recession

oxnard ca

15. Oxnard, California

Overall rank: 15

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank:  10

Economic environment rank: 54

austin tx

14. Austin, Texas

Overall rank: 14

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 25

Economic environment rank: 12

san jose ca

13. San Jose, California

Overall rank: 13

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 18 

Economic environment rank: 25


12. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Overall rank: 12

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 15

Economic environment rank: 23


11. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Overall rank: 11

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 14 

Economic environment rank: 26

el paso tx

10. El Paso, Texas

Overall rank: 10

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 11 

Economic environment rank: 37

Also came in as the:

  • No. 2 (second place) city with the highest decrease in poverty rate

fayetteville nc

9. Fayetteville, North Carolina

Overall rank: 9

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 19

Economic environment rank: 11

Also came in as the:

  •  No. 1 (first place) city with the highest decrease in the ratio of part-time to full-time jobs

san francisco ca

8. San Francisco, California

Overall rank: 8

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 3

Economic environment rank: 58

minneapolis mn

7. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Overall rank: 7

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 8

Economic environment rank: 34

Also came in as the:

  • No. 4 (fourth place) city with the highest decrease in unemployment rate

  • No. 5 (fifth place) city with the highest decrease in violent-crime rate


6. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Overall rank: 6

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 5

Economic environment rank: 39

Also came in as the:

  •  No. 2 (second place) city with the highest decrease in unemployment rate

houston texas

5. Houston, Texas

Overall rank: 5

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 13

Economic environment rank: 15

anchorage ak

4. Anchorage, Alaska

Overall rank: 4

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 6 

Economic environment rank: 13

Also came in as the:

  •  No. 5 (fifth place) city with the highest decrease in poverty rate

corpus christi tx

3. Corpus Christi, Texas

Overall rank: 3

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 4

Economic environment rank: 14

Also came in as the:

  •  No. 3 (third place) city with the highest decrease in poverty rate

denver co

2. Denver, Colorado

Overall rank: 2

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 1  

Economic environment rank: 21

lubbock tx

1. Lubbock, Texas

Overall rank: 1

Employment and earning opportunities’ rank: 2 

Economic environment rank: 8

Also came in as the:

  •  No. 5 (fifth place) city with the highest decrease in the ratio of part-time to full-time jobs

See also:

Retirement living in America: How 60 U.S. cities stack up 

10 of the hardest working cities in America 

These are the 10 U.S. cities with the highest life insurance rates 

 To view the full report, go here. See the interactive map below. 

Source: WalletHub


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