The National League of Cities has released its annual economic conditions survey that concludes the recovery means different things for different cities.
'There are two different storylines playing out in cities: economic conditions are improving for some, but worsening for others," states the report. "This is troubling both socially and economically, making an even stronger case for inclusive growth policies that move the needle towards equity in our nations' cities."
Surveys were sent to the chief elected officials in 986 cities between February and April. About 25 percent responded, or 251 cities. The report doesn't provide specifics of who responded and how.
Among the findings:
-- Economic conditions improved in the past year for 92 percent of the cities, with 28 percent reporting "vast improvement" and 64 percent reporting "slight improvement."
-- Smaller cities are facing tough times. Cities with populations under 100,000 were the only ones to report worsened economic conditions. This underscores a peculiar trend with this recovery: Larger metro areas are experiencing faster growth than smaller communities.
-- New businesses were identified by 47 percent of the respondents as drivers of the recovery, followed by business expansion (43 percent).
-- Residential property values are improving, benefitting property owners and increasing tax revenue. But meeting the demand for affordable housing is becoming more difficult.
The report, which lacks specifics but is stuffed with buzz words and phrases, ends on a metaphysical downer.
"The retail sector appears reflective of strengthening consumer confidence, yet more people lack the basic necessities of life. Economic growth under these conditions is not sustainable."
Winners and losers will be determined, in part, by where they live, which was the same "locations matter" premise of this New York Times story.
"More equitable and inclusive places will have greater opportunities for economic mobility among residents. These localities will also more easily connect to external markets, producing stronger, longer-term growth. Inclusive growth policies that move the needle towards equity in our nation's cities are therefore more important than ever."