Study notes area’s economic gains

by Andrew Batten

CHARLOTTE – A study released by a Washington, D.C. think tank identified the greater Charlotte area as one of 24 regions that is rebounding from the economic slump despite being hit harder than other cities.

The Brookings Institutes’ report, “Global Metro Monitor: The Path to Economic Recovery,” gives an overview of economies in 53 countries after the three-year economic decline.

The area is one of 12 U.S. cities that are on the “road to full recovery,” along with Austin, Texas, Dallas and Minneapolis, Minn the report said. The rest of the world’s metro areas are either experiencing continued challenges in the recession, or are still in decline, according to the report.

The Charlotte area is listed 53 out of 150 metropolitan economies in its economic performance over the last year. The area of 1.7 million people has done better than cities like Boston, Houston, Cincinnati and Tampa.

“A few American metros achieved strong turnarounds, moving from about the bottom third to the top third in the rankings between the recession and recovery periods, including Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit and Minneapolis,” the report states. “Their experiences are consistent with stronger performance in the U.S. banking, manufacturing, and business services sectors in 2010.”

That’s up from the 141st spot Charlotte maintained during the depths of the recession from 2007 to 2009. The metro area originally ranked 65 before the recession began.

“San Jose, Charlotte, Portland, Atlanta, Denver, Nashville and Salt Lake City, all strong growers from the 1990s through the mid-2000s, plummeted at least 50 positions to the bottom of the metro rankings as the recession took hold,” the report said.

The report attributes Charlotte metro’s gains to stronger performances in the banking, manufacturing and business services sectors in 2010.

City and county officials welcomed the good news.

“The Brookings Institution findings are good news for Charlotte-Mecklenburg, and support the fact that the Charlotte region continues to be competitive in the global economy,” said Jennifer Roberts, chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. “Most importantly, it reveals that even after one of the worst economic declines in history, the region is poised for a strong recovery.”

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