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Predicting US county economic resilience from industry input-output accounts

Pages 2019-2028
Published online: 30 Oct 2018


Resilience is defined as a system’s ability to initially resist and then recover from a shock. Here we apply this concept to examine the performance of U.S. counties during the Great Recession. The response of local economies to manmade and natural shocks is hypothesized to depend on the centrality of local industries within the economy, or how well connected they are to the other industries. We first calculate a centrality value for each industry using the national Input-Output accounts. We then ‘step down’ these values to the county level using industry employment data. We then test empirically whether local economies containing more centralized industries were more resilient, using a resilience measure that compares the local employment rebound and decline during the Great Recession. Our results suggest that measures of economic centrality adopted from the study of complex networks provide new insights when applied to the fields of regional science and spatial analysis, and economic growth more generally.


Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


1 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Available online in December 2017 at https://www.bls.gov/cew/datatoc.htm. Adjusted through an X-13 ARIMA process.

2 U.S. Census, County Business Patterns. Available online in December 2017 at https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/cbp.html.

Additional information


This work was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture [2016-51150-25615].

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