The Economic ‘Recovery’ Is Leaving More Than 50 Million Americans Behind

by | Sep 18, 2018 | Headline News | 30 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge

    For more than half of American communities, the economic “recovery” that has created millions of jobs and pushed GDP growth above 4% during Q2 never happened. Indeed, while urban centers like New York City have created millions of jobs, a study recently highlighted by Axios showed that economic conditions in half of the zip codes in the US have actually worsened since the recovery began.

    Among other findings, the Distressed Communities Index highlighted the fact that more than 50 million Americans live in distressed communities, while more than 80 million live in prosperous communities.

    The 2017 DCI finds that 52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities—the one-fifth of zip codes that score worst on the DCI. That represents one in six Americans, or 17 percent of the U.S. population.

    By comparison, 84.8 million Americans live in prosperous communities—the one-fifth of zip codes that score best on the DCI. These top-performing zip codes contain 27 percent of the country’s population, a far greater share than any other tier.

    Underlying indicators of well-being vary drastically across the different tiers of U.S. communities.

    As a map of the distribution of these communities shows, they’re disbursed across all regions of the US, with the greatest concentration of distressed communities in the southeastern US. Meanwhile, the northeastern US had the lowest concentration. Indeed, more than half of the US’s distressed population residents in the southern US.


    One of the starkest differences between prosperous and distressed communities is the uneven level of economic growth.

    According to Labor Department data, 10 million jobs were created in the US between 2011 and 2015, with roughly 85% of these created in prosperous zip codes. Meanwhile, roughly half of American communities have seen zero jobs growth since the crisis. Only two out of every five distressed zip codes recorded growth in employment: the rest saw the number of jobs decline as companies migrated toward more populous areas.


    Because of this phenomenon, more than half of distressed zip codes (54%) had fewer jobs and business in 2015 than they did in 2000.

    The growth gap between prosperous and distressed zip codes may be the starkest feature of the index because of what it implies about their radically different trajectories.

    Over the five-year period from 2011 to 2015, the country added 10.7 million jobs and 310,000 business establishments. Yet that growth was concentrated in the top echelon of U.S. places. An impressive 85 percent of prosperous zip codes saw rising numbers of business establishments and 88 percent registered job growth.


    Outside of the upper echelon, however, growth rapidly becomes less pervasive. Only about two out of every five distressed zip codes registered job growth from 2011 to 2015 and only one in five added business establishments.

    Unsurprisingly given these patterns, prosperous zip codes dominated the recovery. They contained 29 percent of the nation’s jobs in 2011 but welcomed 52 percent of the new jobs created over the following five years.

    Reflecting the disparity in high paying jobs, nearly three out of every five adults in distressed zip codes have no education beyond high school, and only one in seven residents in these struggling communities has completed a four-year degree.


    Meanwhile, more prosperous communities harbor the lions share of advanced-degree holders. They also are healthier, with distressed counties registering roughly 40% more deaths.

    Prosperous communities, on the other hand, are home to a whopping 45 percent of the country’s advanced degree holders and 41 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree. Tellingly, advanced degree holders are more prevalent in prosperous zip codes than college graduates are in distressed ones.

    Massive disparities in health outcomes parallel the nation’s economic imbalances. The inhabitants of more prosperous places tend to be healthier than their neighbors in less advantaged communities, where struggles to find work or pay the bills exact heavy physical and psychological tolls.

    Americans in prosperous counties live five years longer than their peers in distressed counties on average.


    In a corollary, in 2014 the average distressed county registered over 1,000 deaths for every 100,000 residents—38 percent more than the average prosperous county. Among specific causes, mortality from mental and substance abuse disorders is 64 percent higher in distressed counties than in prosperous ones. Neonatal mortality rates—those for infants before birth—are 86 percent higher in the average distressed county.

    Americans in prosperous areas survive, on average, roughly five years longer than their peers in distressed areas. Meanwhile, mortality from mental and substance abuse disorders is 64 percent higher in distressed counties than in prosperous ones. So next time you hear Americans grumbling about the Obama-era economy, remember: For a significant portion of the American public, economic conditions have gotten worse, not better.


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      1. Life is hard.
        I have a BS STEM degree, enough credits for another(BA)degree,
        and I have Graduate credits.
        I did OK but I spend as many years as a technician as I did as an engineer. My experience is that 20% of the workforce carries the other 80%.
        I suspect that is true for the general population, everywhere.
        The problem the world faces is, 80% of the world are clever, but not very smart, what do you do with them? It is only going to get worse, as technology reduces the need for simple labor and emphasizes complex and critical thinking to survive and prosper.
        I have suggestions, like free Fentanyl and Heroin for everyone of voting age, as much as they want. Cuts crime and eliminates a problem. Not a particularly Humane solution but it solves problems. For you secularists it is called Natural selection,
        survival of the fittest.

        • I agree with you entirely rellik. What needs to be done is to alter one basic thought in this country. Work is good. Something desirable. Something to be proud of doing. NO matter the task. Make it a shameful thing, with all the social consequences (start with the women preferring men who labor would be one idea), to not want to work. You notice how the older generations still work as much as they can? It isn’t all about the wages. It’s pride. We need to restore that pride in good old fashion hard work.

          • Work sucks let’s face it. I got better shit to do than waste my life in a truck. i see people out and about living their lives not getting dirty playing golf going out on boats with women living the good life. Work is for schlepps. young people realize this. your just making someone who is rich richer. Workers are professional strugglers.

            • Asshat and Mrbud, I simply have to disagree with you. I’ve been self-employed for most of my working life. Once I got the education and skills I felt confident enough to apply and take my chances. And that is what is about. The gamble that is life. You play the ‘game’, roll the dice….. enjoy the act of doing…. ‘it’, something…. and dare I say it? Work. I take great pride in providing what I do, the best I can do for my customers. I take equal pride in having built a home and paid it off. Raising kids and seeing them go off and take on the struggle themselves. Work is just a term that is used to aid in defining who and what I am. And what I am not. I am not lazy. I don’t expect or believe I should have a damned thing if I don’t pay for it. Again, to live a life with any sort of dignity means you must exert yourself – show some guts and …. just do. Do and feel good about doing. Build a business from scratch. Perform what you offer to the highest standard(s) you can. Show some integrity and …. part of that same word – grit. Envy is futile. If you want something – set a goal and work/save towards it. No, I must disagree. Work is a good thing. And I’m damned glad when the business line rings and another job comes in.

              • Heartless: I was a self-employed small business owner for 30 years thatbretired early. Most people were not as fortunate as you and I were. Get off your high horse.

                • Ah Mrbud – is it that we were lucky; or, is it because we just cared, stuck to it and worked hard? Seems to me fortune sort of prefers those who put out the effort. No high horse my friend – rather trying like hell to encourage people to not give up and find things to value – starting with themselves -besides…. those little screens they go stumbling around clutching. It is something everyone needs to practice to really be ready for any SHTF event. To be honest, I’m tired of constant doom and gloom and negative bitching. I’ve (and it sounds like you too) am of the type to just not want to sit and gripe; rather, to get off our butts and to do something productive. And by the way, I too – over 30 years so far and still going.

          • The only reason the older generations continue to work hard is because they are forced to, to survive and pay the bills. A 1973 FRN is now worth 17 cents.

        • Rellik:

          I would execute the pushers. That eliminates a problem, too. The Chinese had the right idea when they destroyed the opium and killed the “English” (Rothschilds) who forced it on them.

          Those who promote slavery, prostitution, and drugs have always been the same throughout history. Eventually these types wind up getting themselves into a backlash which invariably they perceive as persecution.

          Yes, there is a difference between being smart/intelligent/wise verses clever/cunning/amoral.

          Bernie Madoff was clever.


          • B from CA

            Yes, there is a difference but most people cannot differentiate.

            People who are clever/cunning/amoral are skilled experts at deceiving others and leading them to believe that they are smart/intelligent/wise.

            That’s why many people think they can differentiate when in actuality they can’t.

          • Heroin was used during the civil war to do amputations. It is an effective and valuable pain medication when used under the right circumstances.

            Opium is also a pain medication.

            Pushers always seek out children to get addicted. They aren’t stupid just naive, inexperienced, trusting, and unsupervised; generally the children of working single/divorced women with no man around to provide and protect.

            Laws for age restrictions are always violated.

            _ bad idea Rellik, but I support the concept of survival of the fittest, and agree with the 80/20.


            • “Heroin was used during the civil war to do amputations.”

              I believe it was morphine. Heroin was invented in Germany in the mid 1870s.

          • The Brits were in the business of making money.
            My suggestion eliminates money from the equation.
            The weak will “suicide”.
            Only drugs I use are aspirin and beer.
            You could dump 10 kgs of heroin, coke,
            or meth on my lanai and I’d toss it in
            the dump. I don’t talk to cops.

          • Agree! Pushers die.

        • The economic “recovery” has only just begun. You cannot undo 30 years of damage to the USA from Globalism in two years. With eight years, TRUMP can reverse all of the destructive policies & negative trends imposed upon Americans by our own elected officials.

          Globalism is treason. Death to the New World Order. It’s totally Constitutional. 🙂

      2. Old data

      3. Rellik, good points. But I believe certain aspects of technology, like robots and AI, especially robots, are doomed to failure. So there will still be a need for simple labor. The only question is how much demand there will be later. There will still be a ‘great culling’ of people taking place at some point. We won’t know the cause of it until it happens. Every year the number of people in the work force goes down while the number of people getting on the programs, especially foreigners, goes up. That can’t possible sustainable for much longer. For once Tyler Durden came up with a good article. Life is a bitch and then you die.

      4. According to the map above, I live in a ‘distressed’ area. I am friends with many business owners in this area, there are more jobs than folk who want to work. There are enough folk to fill the jobs, but theyd rather smoke weed, drink malt liquor, and bang each other, than have gainful employment.

        The bottom line is, life is too easy. These degenerates want for nothing. Mostly paid for with taxpayer funds.

        Distressed indeed.

      5. This piece just verifies proof that allowing
        unskilled illegals to invade our country leaves
        our young unskilled without jobs.
        Obumhole gave businesses a tax break for hiring
        illegals instead of US citizens. Then he threw open
        the door to our borders. Now EVERYONE HAS TO

      6. Tax the hell out of those having so many kids. Money talks and when you get a lot less you’ll change behavior.

        • “Tax the hell out of those having so many kids.”

          The people of concern that have so many kids are on public assistance. Those who have lots of kids and are not are paying their own way and chipping in for the aforementioned.

          The good intentions of welfare, not wanting the unfortunate to starve, has too often created multi generational governmental dependency. For many its become professionally “gaming the system”. Government, unlike the former provider of the poor, churches, exerts no social pressure for responsibility but actually rewards the opposite.

          • K2,
            Due to women and stupid laws
            I have 4 brothers and two sisters.
            None were on welfare,
            But we are white people
            and privileged.

        • Yep as soon as that child falls out of the womb tax the parents an annual school tax so when the child reach school age there is a fund available to draw off of. Just slapping a school tax on property, which many don’t even have kids like me is unfair and communism.

          Pay as you go creepy. Why should I have to pay for other people’s reckless sex lives?? And any single woman with kids, applying for welfare and food stamps needs to point out who the father is. DNA Tests and ALL. Or you do NOT get any benefits period. No more reward for failure. Lefty Liberal Socialistic communism is bankrupting and punishing good people who do the right thing, and rewarding low IQ morons who do everything wrong.

          • Who will pay your old age?

          • Part of the problem is that the more kids they have the more money they get. It’s the way they make a living when they are not pimpin, prostituting, selling drugs, or looting. If you have five kids Habitat for Humanity will put you in a new house with low payments. They are REWARDED for their poverty.

            Sadly that IS the reality of the poor. 🙂

          • Piss off, i shouldent have to pay school taxes for homeschooled kids, you all sound like you really enjoy big government. No school taxes at all, want your kids to be publicly schooled then have an enrollment fee. Free Market means more choices.

            • Exactly and lots of folks here support the homeschooling movement for obvious reasons

      7. I used to worry about this – until I realized that there are not 50 million people left behind in the economic recovery – but rather there are 50 million people who choose NOT to be part of the economic recovery. These people are lazy, or unwilling to go to school, or learn English, or give up drugs, or show up to work 40 hours a week, etc. Yes, a few have disabilities or are incapable of these things, but such people tend to live on handouts. Can those handouts increase enough to make them part of an economic recovery? With $20 Trillion in debt?

      8. Here’s an article with more details on distressed communities.
        ht tps://

        I haven’t read this in depth but one take-away for me was that things really didn’t improve economically after the Great Recession was over in 2009. I like to see more recent stats than up to 2017 but that will take more searching than I can do at the moment. If I find some later, I’ll post.

      9. No. What happened was the downsizings in America beginning around 1990 resulted in severe job loss in manufacturing. It came about as corporations within America (who often were owned internationally due to mergers) complained they could not compete due to NAFTA and free trade.

        To cope, they moved operations first to Puerto Rico for tax abatements (look it up) and then moved processing of raw materials to China. Then they would ship this finished product from China to America where it was packaged.

        Things got leaner and leaner. While domestically productivity shot sharply upwards so profits rose dramatically, the corporations complained that it would be cheaper to move packaging of finished product to China due to reduced labor costs and less benefits.

        Free Trade persisted due to GATT and other initiatives. So much so that by 2000, an immense number of American manufacturing jobs left for China and the Pacific Rim.

        What do you think Americans did who just graduated high school? They worked LARGELY in manufacturing. And these blue collar workers were middle class and decent benefits and they poured money into the economy.

        And these folks were managed by white collar college graduates and these folks now had less jobs as well. And they were engineers and research scientists too.

        Free Trade killed BOTH blue and white collar jobs in manufacturing. And that is why there is no true recovery for this subset of folks.

        This caused the high schools to sharply encourage college degrees because they knew that high school graduates could never cope. In many cases these Millennials have either a collage degree or a graduate degree and cannot find a job which will allow them to pay off even their school loans.

        You have people who spent a lot of money to get a degree that they cannot use and are working as a barista in a coffeeshop. That person will never own a home and is 30 years old and living in the basement of their parent’s home.

        And you have to realize when these manufacturing folks bought things, bought houses and cars and boats, that money kept the tire store open, the malls open, the restaurants open, etc.

        Why do you think malls across America have closed? It’s directly related to the decline of American manufacturing. That allowed the rise of Amazon to sell online but at a fraction of what retail was formerly.

        The globalists do not want a middle class especially by blue collar workers. They want serfs so they can be aristocrats.Until you get that, you will never understand thee Illuminati and the Bilderburgers and the Rothschilds. They imploded the economy on purpose and consolidated wealth through schemes of manipulating gold prices and stocks.

        And this is very dangerous as those managing pensions then screwed up, and now we have a pension crisis in almost every state where both government and no government workers might lose their pensions through mismanaged investments.

      10. It will be interesting to see if Trump’s recovery will affect the numbers in any meaningful way.
        As long as we have the borders open with the massive flow of immigrants (legal and illegal) into the country poverty will continue to grow. We are literally immigrating poverty into the country. (who really gives a shit?)
        The thing that is NEVER mentioned is that one group of people PROFITS from immigration (legal and illegal) and a completely different group PAYS for the costs of the immigrants.
        The idea that immigrants pay more than they cost is BS that can be proven in all of the blighted areas of the country.

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