Grays Harbor economic growth has improved
U.S. economic growth continued last year for the 3,069 county economies, but the recovery remained uneven and fragile, according to the National Association of Counties (NACo).
Many counties are continuing to struggle with their budgets, meet financial obligations and provide essential public services.
NACo’s study, County Tracker 2013: On the Path to Recovery assesses the performance of the nation’s county economies by studying annual changes in four indicators – economic output, employment, unemployment rate, and home prices.
According to NACo, Grays Harbor saw 8.1% economic output growth between 2012 and 2013, but with only a 1.7% increase between 1990 and today. Job growth saw a 5.8% increase, compared to 0.5% since 1990. Median home prices locally saw a 16.2% gain, almost identical to state figures.
The County Tracker also lists the average county wage at $36,900. Local government brought in the highest dollar value for the year with over $384 million and 14% of the economic output, but an average wage of $39,200. Real estate, banking, wood products, and wholesale jobs round out the top 5 industries for the county in 2013. Wood jobs only account for 4.4% of the total employment county wide.
The economic indicators analyzed by NACo suggest that 2013 was a year of growth, but the recovery remained fragile. By 2013, the economic output in about half of all counties across the nation recovered or had no declines over the last decade. Home prices were in the same situation.
According to NACo, jobs recovered in one quarter of county economies and in only 54 county economies unemployment is back to pre-recession levels.
All counties, large, mid-sized or small, have been affected by the recession but the patterns of recovery vary significantly.
Employment in medium-size county economies, with populations between 50,000 and 500,000 residents like Grays Harbor, was more stable during the recession, but had a mixed record in 2013. About half of the medium-sized county economies had shorter and/or shallower job recessions than the national average.