Aside from that, employment has been slow to improve in some places simply because of a depressed housing market. Red tape can make this process worse. In New Jersey, for example, a slow foreclosure process has been blamed for keeping home prices low and slowing down the housing recovery.
It's also important to note that current unemployment rates matter. The jobless rates in the Grand Junction (9.2 percent) and Kennewick (9.3 percent) metro areas, which have grown over this period, are still lower than in Flint (9.4), where the rate has fallen significantly.
"It's great for unemployment to decline, but we're still in painful territory in a lot of these places," says Alec Friedhoff, data manager for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. According to the Institution, unemployment rates are above 6 percent in all but 12 of the 100 largest metro areas.
He also adds that unemployment rates can be deceiving, as they don't take into account discouraged workers.
"In places where the economy hasn't bounced back quite as well, you have people leaving the labor force. So you're getting a decline in the unemployment rate, but it's really because workers are discouraged," says Friedhoff.
Because of all of the factors that contribute to different cities' downturns and recoveries, the ultimate lesson here may not be that certain places are quantifiably "better off" than at a given point a few years ago, and will therefore be more inclined to support the president. The more interesting point may simply be that while the nation's unemployment rate is still slightly worse than it was when the president took office, the recovery may be much more alive and well in some places than others.
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Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter @titonka or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.