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LOS ANGELES ,CA–Shanghai, China, was at the top of the world’s 200 largest metropolitan economies last year, while Athens, Greece, came in dead last at number 200, according to the Brookings Institution.
Brookings, which released its rankings this week, looks at the per capita GDP and employment changes in the 200 largest metro areas across the globe. These cities account for nearly half (48 percent) of the world’s economy, but contain only 14 percent of the world’s population and employment.
The 2011 rankings show how the so-called Great Recession has affected the global economy. Ninety percent of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies were found outside the traditional powerhouses of the United States, Western Europe and Japan, which is still recovering from earthquake damage from the 2011 quake that struck the country’s east coast.
Of the 200 cities, less than one-half surpassed their pre-recession employment and/or income levels by 2011. Developing Asia-Pacific and Latin American metropolitan areas reached new highs in 2011. And China accounted for eight of the top 20 cities in Brookings’ rankings. Shanghai reached its top spot with a growth in employment in 2011 of 5.8 percent and its metropolitan area expanding by 9.8 percent.
Europe’s continuing economic woes are telling in its cities’ financial problems and the Brookings’ ranking.
Athens’ last-place finish at number 200 illustrates its 4.8 percent decline in income and its drop in employment by 3.5 percent. Compare that with number five Hangzhou, China’s, increase of 5.8 percent income and 5.5 percent employment.
You have to pity Spain. Its four largest metro areas all ranked just near the bottom. Valencia came in at 192; Barcelona at 193; Madrid, 195; and Seville, 197. Nearby Lisbon, Portugal, was ranked 199. Going a bit west, Dublin, Ireland, was sitting at a gloomy 198, while London could only manage a 152 ranking.
Germany, which so far has maintained the strongest economy in the Euro-zone, saw its Stuttgart come in the highest in the country at 31. You’d have to go to Izmir, Turkey, to find the highest ranking in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Izmir is ranked number 4.
Coming back to the United States, the best we could do is Houston, Texas, which came in at number 19 due to its 5.5 percent increase in income and its 2.5 percent growth in employment. Don’t place many bets on Las Vegas, with its deafening ranking of 179, due to its 0.37 percent decline in income. But, Sin City did see a shaded bright light with an employment uptick of 0.1 percent.
Brookings also found that manufacturing accounted for the largest share of output growth in 59 metro areas from 2010 to 2011. But metropolitan areas with high concentrations of services such as education, health care, administrative services and government saw only sluggish growth.