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Recession Recovery Underway in Fremont County

Fremont County's Economic Tracker is available on-line at ww.NACo.org, or click on this graphic to view on full screen.

From national economic indicators, one might conclude the economy has recovered quite well. Total U.S. employment has surpassed pre-recession levels, and the economy grew at a rapid pace in the latter part of last year. Local-level economic data, though, tells a much different story.

In a report published by the National Association of Counties (NACo) Fremont County along with nearly three-quarters of all counties across the nation remain below pre-recession employment levels.   The report also said economic output has not recovered in 45 percent of all counties.   Only 65 counties (out of more than 3,000 nationally) have seen all four economic measures fully recover from pre-recession peaks.

The NACO report analyzed four key indicators in each county; job totals, unemployment rates, economic output (GDP), and median home prices.   The report shows Fremont County has recovered in two of the key indicators from pre-recession levels.   Those two included economic output and median home prices.

The report said Fremont County GDP growth rate was 0.3% projected at the end of 2014 compared to the pre-recession peak in 2010.

The report showed that median home prices improved in Fremont County by 6.1% over the past five years.   It estimated median home prices in Fremont County at the end of 2014 at $126,000 compared to $91,000 in 2009.   In reality median home prices in Fremont County followed a national trend and actually showed values falling in the three year period from 2006 to 2009.   The median home price in Fremont County in 2006 was $110,000.

Fremont County’s population reached a pre-recession peak of 47,815 in 2009.   That dropped to an estimated population of 46,451 in 2013.

The report notes that it’s the larger county economies (counties with more than 500,000 residents) that are generating a disproportionate share of new jobs. Many of these jobs, however, are found in low-wage sectors.  “The national numbers mask the reality on the ground,” said Emilia Istrate, NACo’s research director. “It explains why Americans do not feel the good economic measures.”