Everybody knows the US economy has been struggling since the recession ended in 2009. But just how bad are things? Of the United States' 76 major metropolitan areas, just three are in economic recovery now, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution, reports Reuters. That may seem terrible, but it's up from last year, when zero were classified as in recovery. All three cities—Knoxville, Tennessee; Dallas, Texas; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—have strong local service industries as well as banking and finance institutions that cater to certain industries.
"There is no single industry that can help, but there is an industrial structure that can help you grow year to year," says a Brookings fellow. "More and more metropolitan areas are looking at the export sector, at foreign investors, at infrastructure." Other studies, however, indicate recoveries may be speeding up around the country. A report by IHS predicts more than 75 metropolitan areas will be back to pre-recession employment levels by the end of 2014. (Read more economic recovery stories.)