A new study by the Brookings Institution shows the Grand Rapids and Detroit metro regions are in the top 20 hardest hit by the recession.
The study measures how deep the recession hit the top 100 metro regions in the United States.
It also looks at how strong the recovery is for those cities.
Jennifer Bradley co-directed the study in the Great Lakes region:
"It's not just about a particular city or a particular suburb. These places are economic units. They're rising and falling together and they will come out of the recession, or not, together."
Bradley says Grand Rapids and Detroit lead the nation in keeping their unemployment rates from spiking even higher, but it's unclear why:
"It could be more people are getting jobs. It could be more people are leaving the workforce altogether. It could be more people are leaving the region all together."
There is a lot in the study that’s not surprising.
It shows most metro regions near the Great Lakes had a weak economy before the recession, mainly because of job losses as the auto industry declined.
Bradley says business and government leaders in metro regions need to work together to strengthen their chances of recovery.