California Cities Stumble in Recovery

Thursday, August 07, 2014

President Truman may not have been the first to say, “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours.” But his 1958 comment has resonated in every economic downturn since, even as economists and pundits sought to measure the pain.

Last week, WalletHub attempted to measure the winners and losers since the worst recession post-Great Depression ended five years ago and came up with a list that was not kind to California.

The economic recoveries of Stockton and San Bernardino ranked 149 and 150, respectively, among the nation’s 150 largest cities, using criteria based on 18 “essential metrics.” Bankruptcy was a heavily-weighted factor, which both cities have suffered through.

No California city made the Top 10. The median ranking of California’s 29 cities was 114, below the midpoint of 100. The average was 102.

San Francisco, by virtue of a strong showing in “Employment and Earning Opportunities,” checked in at No. 20. That category consists of median household income increase, ratio of part-time to full-time jobs, unemployment rate decrease and inflow increase of college-educated workers.

The city did not fare as well in “Economic Environment,” the other 14 criteria, including unemployment rate decrease, foreclosure rate decrease, violent crime rate decrease, poverty rate decrease and median home price appreciation.

Bakersfield was the second-highest ranked California city at No. 23. San Jose was No. 35, Los Angeles No. 99 and San Diego No. 103.

Laredo, Texas, was No. 1 on the list nationally, followed by Irving, Texas, Fayetteville, North Carolina, Denver, Dallas, Corpus Christi, Texas, Minneapolis, Lubbock, Texas, Garland, Texas, and Tulsa.

Data was gleaned from 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, PBS NewsHour and WalletHub Research.

WalletHub is not the first to rank winners and losers from the recession. Production of these lists has turned into a cottage industry that invariably producess a bunch of Texas cities at the top and a few California cities at the bottom. A month ago, NerdWallet ranked 510 cities. Eight of its Top 10 were from Texas.

Twenty-nine California cities made the WalletHub list:

    and Earning Economic 
Overall   Opportunities Environment
Rank City Rank Rank
20 San Francisco 8 45
23 Bakersfield 64 15
35 San Jose 12 64
53 Santa Rosa 31 77
58 Chula Vista 95 42
61 Fremont 36 83
79 Oxnard 57 79
80 Garden Grove 44 89
83 Oakland 13 115
93 Santa Ana 66 104
99 Los Angeles 98 100
103 San Diego 58 118
104 Sacramento 108 102
112 Rancho Cucamonga 130 93
114 Glendale 60 126
116 Irvine 145 82
118 Ontario 54 132
119 Moreno Valley 55 133
125 Fresno 138 109
126 Oceanside 118 125
127 Santa Clarita 140 106
129 Long Beach 107 130
132 Fontana 84 140
134 Huntington Beach 113 135
137 Anaheim 136 131
140 Riverside 122 139
146 Modesto 143 136
149 Stockton 137 148
150 San Bernardino 141 150

–Ken Broder



To Learn More:

California Cities Don’t Fare Well in Recovery Rankings (by Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee)

California Cities Among Slowest to Recover Since Recession, Study Says (by Chris Kirkham, Los Angeles Times)

2014’s Most & Least Recession-Recovered Cities (by Richie Bernardo, Wallet Hub)

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