County economies in 2019 compared to 2016 by three economic measurements: number of jobs, average wages, and unemployment rate. U.S. counties worse off in no or one economic measures are in gray; counties worse off in two economic measures are in coral, and counties worse off in all three economic measures are in red. (New York Times map)
The coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to a major recession, but many counties still haven't recovered from the last one in 2009. In more than half of U.S. counties, the local economy was worse off in 2019 than it was in 2016 in at least two key economic measures, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

The New York Times compared data for three economic measures: number of jobs, average wage, and unemployment rate. "Among the 3,142 U.S. counties, more than 1,700 had either fewer jobs, lower inflation-adjusted average wages or a higher unemployment rate in 2019 than in 2016," Jed Kolko reports for the Times. "Almost 500 counties had setbacks in at least two of these three measures (meeting our definition of worse off). A handful of small counties were especially unfortunate, declining on all three measures."

Most of the worse-off counties are rural, and none of the worse-off counties are in the largest metropolitan areas, Kolko reports.