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ABQ still struggling from recession

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Albuquerque is slogging through one of the weakest economic recoveries and has the worst employment growth among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, according to Brookings Institution analysis released Thursday.

Brookings ranked Albuquerque’s overall recovery from the Great Recession at 91st out of 100 metropolitan areas as of the end of 2012. Its employment growth ranked 100. Albuquerque’s overall recovery ranked 86th at the end of the third quarter of 2012.

Albuquerque was one of 15 metropolitan areas in the nation to see a decline in home prices in the fourth quarter, according to Brookings.

On the plus side, Albuquerque’s economic output has recovered to pre-recession levels.

Brookings reported New Orleans has seen the greatest recovery from recession and Harrisburg, Pa., the worst.

The analysis considers employment growth, the unemployment rate, economic output and recovery of housing prices. Albuquerque’s unemployment rate placed it 74th, output ranked 67th and housing price recovery ranked 77th.

Brookings’ detailed analysis of the 10 largest cities in the Intermountain West found that employment growth was positive in the region except for Albuquerque. Boise, Denver, Ogden, Phoenix, Provo and Salt Lake City had four consecutive quarters of job growth in 2012. Albuquerque suffered four consecutive losing quarters.

“Salt Lake City emerged as the only metropolitan area in the region to have finally achieved a full employment recovery by the end of 2012,” Brookings reported. “By contrast, Colorado Springs struggled to make gains on all fronts, and national and regional recoveries had left Albuquerque completely behind.”

The Intermountain West as a region “closed 2012 on the cusp of a full output recovery. The size of the region’s 10 largest metropolitan economies combined stood a mere 0.2 percent below its pre-recession peak at the close of the fourth quarter.”

Albuquerque was among seven of the region’s cities to achieve “a full output recovery” by the end of the year. Its economy grew 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter, second only to 7 percent growth in Utah’s three largest cities.
— This article appeared on page B01 of the Albuquerque Journal

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