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Nicholas Kreston and Dariusz Wójcik

This chapter seeks to explain why only a minority of US metropolitan areas enjoyed quicker recovery and higher levels of economic growth following the 2008 banking crisis and recession of 2007-2009. An uneven pattern of growth came into being over the course of the recession and persisted through 2013, evident in both total employment and on a sectoral basis. Using cluster analysis, we characterize the best performing group of metropolitan areas as exhibiting less economic sectorial diversity than average and lower rates of subprime mortgages as a share of all households. The worst performing areas show the highest average rates of household distress as well as bank failures. The most consistent pattern among our variables was that gradually worsening growth outcomes were associated with increasingly larger subprime mortgage and HAMP concentrations. Our findings recommend further research into the conditions of financial distress among metropolitan areas as well as into the nature of sector specialization, as both potential factor affecting growth.