In his State of the Union address — perhaps, based on the recommendations for government involvement and control he made therein, better described as his Statist of the Union address — President Obama referenced the “growing” U.S. economy at least three times, but “recovery” only once. Specifically, he claimed that “thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives.”
The recovery, which Obama acknowledged is still in progress over 5-1/2 years after the recession officially ended, has a great deal more “touching” to do. On January 12, the National Association of Counties released a detailed study which most of the press ignored, but which would have been front-page and broadcast-leading news in a Republican or conservative presidential administration. The NACo report showed that only 65 of the nation’s 3,069 counties have fully recovered from the recession. That’s bad enough, but even with that ugly statistic, the results involved are worse than they appear.
Eric Morath’s coverage of the report at the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog missed a key point, namely how sparsely populated the 65 fully recovered counties are:
Of More Than 3,000 U.S. Counties, Just 65 Have Recovered From Recession, NACo Says
… The 2014 County Economic Tracker shows that 65 of the nation’s 3,069 counties have met or surpassed prerecession levels in four measured categories: jobs, unemployment rate, economic output and home prices.
… The recovered counties are largely located in energy-rich areas and have small populations. Of the 65 recovered counties, 24 are in Texas and 16 are in North Dakota. The others are generally in the middle of the country, including nine in Minnesota and eight in Kansas.
None of the recovered counties has more than 500,000 residents.
Actually, only 15 of the counties are in North Dakota. Far more important, a detailed look at 2013 Census data using the bureau’s interactive tool indicates that none of the recovered counties has more than 200,000 residents:
Also, as seen above, 34 of the counties, or over half, have populations of under 10,000.
The 65 fully-recovered counties represent just over 2 percent of all U.S. counties, but their total population of under 1.4 million is less than one-half of one percent of the nation’s total. This means that 99.56 percent of Americans live in counties which have not fully come back to where they were in 2007.
But the Obama administration and its press acolytes continue to crow about the economy. Unreal.
A crowning irony is that if the Obama administration’s environmental zealots had their way and had stopped hydraulic fracturing, the number of fully recovered counties today would be likely have been cut by more than half from the already absolutely abysmal total.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.