Chart gross domestic product, and you’ll find no telltale recessionary dip in Monroe and Martin counties. GDP was flat for a time in the mid- and late 2000s, but it didn’t crater.
That’s an oversimplification, of course, one that can only be reached by closing one eye and squinting. It’s based on a single indicator in a new National Association of Counties study tracking four data points through recession and recovery. Glance at the other indicators — unemployment, job growth, home prices — and it becomes clear that there were plenty of plummeting economic numbers in all area counties during the recession.
It also becomes clear that different counties went through recession and recovery in different ways and at different times. An examination of 10 area counties, from Marion in the north to Orange in the south and from Greene in the west to Bartholomew in the east, reveals a very varied picture.
Lawrence County GDP peaked in 2004, while Morgan County GDP peaked in 2006, for example. But GDP in both counties started recovering in 2009.
Lawrence County’s recession wasn’t just longer. It was sharper, too. The county lost GDP at an annualized rate of 4.7 percent during its recession. Morgan County lost at a rate of 2.9 percent.
Manufacturing-heavy Bartholomew County saw its GDP rapidly contract before rebounding dramatically. The county’s GDP shrank at an annualized rate of 8.7 percent in the recession, then grew at an annualized rate of 8 percent during its recovery.