Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted September 18, 2012 12:00 pm

Slow Augusta recovery puts it at bottom of list

Held back by the job market. That’s what the latest MetroMonitor shows.


Augusta was once king of the MetroMonitor, a quarterly economic analysis by the Brookings Institution. While the Great Recession was making metro areas like Las Vegas look like scorched earth, Augusta was floating high on the list of cities that were resilient. Then the recovery caught up to the previously ravaged cities, which now have more cylinders firing, and Augusta’s slow and steady pace has put it on the bottom of the economic measure for the biggest 100 cities in the U.S.


Augusta was 89th on the latest MetroMonitor, which examines data from the second quarter of this year.


Augusta continues to do well in the gross metropolitan product. In the production of goods and services, the area is 21st.


Housing isn’t bad either. Prices have the area tied for 14th.


The snag is the job market. Specifically, not much has changed in the recovery.


For unemployment, Augusta is 91st, for that reason – the unemployment rate is about the same as it was when the recession ended.


For employment, Augusta is in a tie for last with Albuquerque. The metro area hasn’t recovered there, about the same as it was when the recession ended.


The way Brookings has its measures set up, the metro area is being sized up to what it was a the pre-recession peak, which would be considered full recovery. Other areas are at the top of the MetroMonitor now because they’re headed toward recovery faster than stagnant Augusta.


MORTGAGE PROFIT: The Mortgage Bankers Association says independent mortgage banks and mortgage subsidiaries of chartered banks made an average profit of $2,152 on each loan they originated in the spring, which is up from $1,654 profit per loan at the beginning of the year.


With the surge in production volume in the second quarter, net production profits among independent mortgage bankers increased, explained MBA Associate Vice President of Industry Analysis Marina Walsh.