Job and GDP growth: Growing good jobs is central to building strong, inclusive regional economies.

Insights & Analyses

  • From 1990 to 2019, GDP in the US grew more quickly than jobs. The gap between job and GDP growth, however, shrunk slightly from 2009 to 2019 due to a .4 percent decrease in average GDP growth. 
  • The impact of Covid-19 in 2020 shocked the US economy, interrupting the positive trend in jobs and GDP growth following the recovery after the Great Recession.
  • Only eight states experienced positive GDP growth during 2020, while all states had negative job growth. Idaho and Utah were the two states least impacted in terms of job growth. 
  • The tech hub region of San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA experienced the largest growth in GDP (4.3%) during 2020, while the oil and gas region of Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX experienced the largest decrease (-13.9%). 

Drivers of Inequity

The disparity between GDP and job growth rates following the Great Recession reveals who has been left behind as the U.S. economy slowly recovers. Beginning in the 21st century, the economy underwent structural changes that created a growing mismatch between available workers and job opportunities. Middle-skill routine jobs diminished because of automation and outsourcing to lower-wage countries—this trend was accelerated by the Great Recession. The recession also caused many businesses to restructure and eliminate unneeded labor. Together, these shifts have created a growing polarization in the job market, forcing many middle-wage workers to take large pay cuts or stop looking for work altogether. Indicators like GDP growth, which now indicate a healthy economy, are unable to capture the continued impacts of the recession.


Grow an equitable economy: Policies to create good jobs for all

Strategy in Action

Neighborhood Development Center empowers entrepreneurs to create jobs and transform low-income communities. For more than 20 years, the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) has been working with low-income residents of urban neighborhoods to develop talent through training, financing, technical assistance, and business incubators. They have trained more than 4,600 low-income entrepreneurs and extended over $13.7 million in loan capital to their businesses. These efforts have had widespread community impacts. NDC graduates employ 2,200 individuals. More than 78 percent of these employees are people of color while 82 percent are from the surrounding neighborhoods. These businesses return $46 million to their neighborhood economy in payroll, taxes, and rent each year. The NDC model is now being replicated in Detroit through a partnership with ProsperUS. Learn more.

Photo: Alev Takil on Unsplash

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