Brookings: Stockton 17th in country for “recovery performance”

The Brookings Institution has released their Metro Monitor update for December 2012, and the data for the Stockton region is mixed. As mentioned before on this site, Brookings uses employment, economic output and housing data to determine which cities are recovering fastest in relation to the worst of the recession. In September’s Metro Monitor, Stockton was ranked 37th in the country for recovery performance. This quarter,* Brookings’ methodology vaulted Stockton up to 17th place out of the top 100 metro areas. The Metro Monitor determines these rankings by comparing how much economic progress cities have made since they hit their respective “troughs”– their lowest points economically during the recession. In laymen’s terms, cities that score well in this metric are currently recovering at faster rates than those cities farther down the list.

While it’s nice to see the region performing well on Brookings’ recovery index, the news should be taken in perspective. Because Stockton fell so hard during the recession, the region has much more ground to make up, which does not make this ranking too surprising. By comparison, cities that weathered the recession fairly well don’t have much ground to make up. Some cities are actually already back to pre-recession levels and therefore would not be making big strides in recovery.

There is still a very long way to go before Stockton returns to boom-year levels. When comparing recoveries to peak economic levels from around 2007, Stockton places 96th overall. Central Valley cities in general place near the bottom when using this metric. Conclusion: Stockton ranks highly in today’s recovery index because other cities are already done recovering. While Stockton’s recovery is real, keep in mind there is a long road ahead before we can say that the city has truly recovered.

*While released in December, Brookings’ Metro Monitor reports data from July to September of this year.


Categories: Community Commentary

Author:David A. Garcia

David A. Garcia created SCL in March of 2012. Garcia is a Stockton native with a background in urban policy and planning, holding a Bachelor's Degree from UCLA as well as a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies. He currently serves as the Policy Director at the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. David was also COO at Ten Space, a real estate development firm focused exclusively on Downtown Stockton, and continues to advise on their projects. Prior to that, he worked three years as a researcher/analyst for a Congressional research agency in Washington, DC. The views expressed on this site are entirely of the author's

2 Comments on “Brookings: Stockton 17th in country for “recovery performance””

  1. Jon Seisa
    February 25, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Sadly, though, Stockton still has more hurdles to overcome. I suppose it won’t be easy. The city still remains on Forbes Magazine 2013 Top 10 List of Most Miserable American Cities, having secured 8th place this time. At least it’s sliding down the list, a good sign. However, Vallejo was #6 and Modesto ranked #5 on the list, both above Stockton. So three California cities now have this dubious honor. NYC made 10th place and Detroit is #1. At least Stockton isn’t #1 like it was in 2011. Hopefully in a couple more years it will be completely off the list.

    • David Garcia
      February 25, 2013 at 10:07 am #

      Stockton definitely has a long ways to go, and the data from Metro Monitor is by no means a cause for celebration. However, I strongly caution against using the Forbes list as a barometer for Stockton’s health, or any city for that matter. Many of the criteria used in their ranking is arbitrary and out of the control of the city, such as weather patterns and the performance of regional sports teams. Take a look at my full critique of the list at the link below.

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