13 Unlucky US Cities Still in a Recession

Laura Joszt

More than five years after the global financial crisis, the economy has completely improved, right? Not necessarily. The recovery has been uneven throughout the country, with some cities still living in a recession.

More than five years after the global financial crisis, the economy has completely improved, right? Not necessarily. The recovery has been uneven throughout the country, with some cities still living in a recession.

Business Insider went through a new report published by the Conference of Mayors and produced by HIS Global Insight and found that even though the US economy is ready to accelerate this year, some cities saw their gross metro product (GMP) contract by 2% or more in 2013.

Idaho, New York and Louisiana all have two entries each and the West Coast isn’t represented at all on this list.

13. Idaho Falls, Idaho

Employment change in 2013: -1.8%

GMP change in 2013: -2%

Physicians might want to head to Idaho Falls regardless—the state is projected to have one of the worst primary care physician shortages by 2030. Plus, the state already has a population to PCP ratio that is far greater than the national average.

Temple Park

12. Duluth, Minnesota

Employment change in 2013: 0.1%

GMP change in 2013: -2.1%

Physicians will enjoy working in Minnesota, even if Duluth is going through a recession. The state was one of only two to receive an A for making physician quality data available to consumers, but Minnesota is also doing great digitally. According to a new report, 94% of physicians are using any type of EHR system and 75.5% have a basic EHR system—those are two of the best usage rates in the country.

However, watch out: the state has one of the worst business tax climates and it’s actually really expensive to raise a child in Minnesota ($14,700 a year).

Duluth skyline

11. Norwich-New London, Connecticut

Employment change in 2013: -0.9%

GMP change in 2013: -2.1%

Connecticut is one of those states that physicians might want to steer clear anyway, regardless of the troubles in Norwich and New London. The state has the fifth highest malpractice payout per capita, second-highest real estate taxes, a tax on Social Security benefits and one of the worst business tax climates.

Plus, it will cost you $15,000 a year to raise a child with yearly child care costs at $8,600.

10. Elmira, New York

Employment change in 2013: -1%

GMP change in 2013: -2.1%

Elmira has one of the biggest prospective housing bubbles because unemployment is on the rise but the median housing price is also up 20% — a recipe for disaster. Plus, New York state isn’t very kind to physicians with the highest malpractice payout per capita ($38.99).

Downtown mall in Charlottesville. Photo by Bobak Ha’Eri.

9. Charlottesville, Virginia

Employment change in 2013: -1.9%

GMP change in 2013: -2.2%

The good news is that Charlottesville has one of the lowest obesity rates in the country with 14.3% of residents obese, behind Boulder, CO, (12.5%), which is the least obese city in the country (and has been for a few years now).

8. Pocatello, Idaho

Employment change in 2013: -0.3%

GMP change in 2013: -2.2%

Again, Idaho might be a good place to go regardless of the recession in Pocatello because they need physicians and it’s a good state to retire in. Plus, AARP has listed Pocatello as one of the best places to retire on a budget because it has a cost of living far below the national average and the median home price is $127,500.

Historic downtown Pocatello.

7. Salisbury, Maryland

Employment change in 2013: -1.9%

GMP change in 2013: -2.2%

Maryland, like other states on the East Coast, has one of the largest medical payouts per capita, making it not-so-friendly to physicians, but it also has one of the worst business tax climates—no wonder Salisbury is still in a recession.

6. Binghamton, New York

Employment change in 2013: -0.4%

GMP change in 2013: -2.3%

New York state has a second entry on the list, this time with Binghamton. While the cost of living in Binghamton is below the national average, the median home sales price is up 1.5% year over year, according to Trulia, which isn’t a good combination with declining employment.

Downtown Binghamton

5. Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-West Virginia

Employment change in 2013: -2.6%

GMP change in 2013: -2.6%

While Steubenville has just 28 new and resale homes on the market, 110 are in pre-foreclosure, auction or bank-owned states of the foreclosure process, according to Trulia. Weirton’s real estate market looks much better (the numbers are essentially flipped), but home prices are on the rise, while employment is down.

4. Yuma, Arizona

Employment change in 2013: -1.9%

GMP change in 2013: -3.2%

Yuma is facing the biggest prospective housing bubble in the country. Unemployment is still around 18% and the median housing price is up 10%. The state also has the dubious honor of having some of the most financially unstable residents in the country because the average credit debt burden is $12,000. But physicians might find Arizona attractive because it has the second-largest projective PCP shortage.

Downtown Lafayette

3. Lafayette, Louisiana

Employment change in 2013: -2%

GMP change in 2013: -3.2%

The unemployment rate in Lafayette is around 4.2%, which is better than the nation’s average, but it’s creeping up, according to the numbers from the report. Plus Trulia reported that the number of new and resale homes on the market (341) is actually below the number in pre-foreclosure, auction or bank-owned states of the foreclosure. The median listing price for homes was $249,520.

2. Decatur, Illinois

Employment change in 2013: -4.2%

GMP change in 2013: -4.8%

Unemployment in Decatur is on a sharp rise and the unemployment rate is currently around 13%. According to Zillow, the median sale price in Decatur is currently $85,900, which is up from $66,000 this same time last year.

Red River Bridge connecting Shreveport and Bossier City. Photo by Nathan Pham.

1. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

Employment change in 2013: -1.3%

GMP change in 2013: -5.2%

Shreveport was actually named one of the top cities to live in for a working retirement in February 2013. While the tax climate is good in Louisiana, crime is a problem, according to the Forbes report.