WASHINGTON — The nation's mayors are urging Congress to avoid "manufactured crises" like another federal government shutdown because it could hurt cities, many of which are economically struggling more this year than last.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors made the plea after issuing a report done for it by IHS Global Insight that found that the economics of one-third, or 119, of the 363 U.S. metropolitan areas — cities and their surrounding suburbs — will decline or remain stagnant this year. This is a substantial increase from last year when 73 metropolitan areas experienced no or declining economies.
While two-thirds, or 244, of these areas will experience some economic expansion, that growth will be 1% or less for almost 40% of these areas, the report said. In comparison, many more cities and surrounding suburbs — 290 in 2012 and 265 in 2011 — experienced growth.
"Because the recovery is still fragile, we cannot afford manufactured crises like sequestration, the debt ceiling battle and the federal government shutdown," said USCM President Scott Smith. Mayor of Mesa, Ariz. "So it is important that Washington not return to dysfunction, which has real economic consequences in our cities and on Main Street."
Cities and their metro economies account for more than 90% of gross domestic product, nearly 86% of the nation's population and almost 86% of all jobs, according to the USMC.
"So if our metro areas aren't doing well, the entire country suffers," Smith said.
The report forecasts that gross domestic product will expand by 1.7%.
Economic gains will be fueled significantly by energy, the report said. As a result metropolitan areas in Texas are expected to be fastest growers in real GDP. Midland tops the list at 7.3%, Odessa is second at 6.4%, and Corpus Christi is tenth at 3.8%, according to the report.
Metropolitan areas in the so-called housing bubble states of California, Arizona and Florida represent nine of the top 50 fastest growers of GDP. The output of San Francisco, San Jose, Tampa, and Jacksonville will jump by more than 3% this year, according to the report.