The National Association of Counties released a new study last week that showed just 214 counties nationwide had fully recovered from the recession as of last year. They use four indicators in determining progress – total employment, the unemployment rate, size of the economy and home values. While not all of the counties that have failed to fully recover are still at prerecession levels for all four factors, 16% were lagging in all of the indicators. Most of those that had bounced back are in states benefiting from the energy boom. Last year, 72 of the recovered counties were in Texas, the most of any state. Nebraska followed with 22. Minnesota, Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas each had at least 10 fully recovered counties. Meanwhile, in 27 states, not a single county had fully recovered. The recovery is spreading out from the energy-rich center of the country—in part because a massive drop in oil prices is reversing job creation there while providing an economic benefit to larger metro areas near the coasts. Numerous counties on the West Coast, Nevada, New York, Florida and the Carolinas recorded better than 4% economic growth last year, the NACo study found. But a large swath of counties in Texas, Illinois and other states in the middle of the country suffered economic contractions last year. You can find more details over at Real Time Economics. Click the map for a larger view.

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