The Brookings Institutions' MetroMonitor, which tracks America's 100 largest metropolitan areas, found a sharp reversal of the job growth that was occurring earlier in the year, widespread losses of manufacturing jobs (in contrast to earlier gains), [and] continued high unemployment rates in most metropolitan areas.

Only 25 of the 100 cities had any job growth in the third quarter, compared to 87 in second quarter and 39 in the first quarter. In the combined area of the 100 cities, jobs increased by 0.5 percent in the second quarter but fell 0.3 percent in the third quarter.

So far, no cities have gained back all the jobs they lost during the Great Recession. In fact, only Austin, Tex., McAllen, Tex., New Orleans, and Washington D.C. gained more than half the jobs they lost.

The metropolitan areas that are performing the best -- in terms of the jobs market and also the overall economy -- are those that rely on government, health care, education, oil and gas, or are located in the Great Plains, stated Brookings. The worst-performing are those that experienced large housing busts or those that depend heavily on the auto industry.

Meanwhile, economic output has recovered more quickly than the jobs market. Eighty-seven of the 100 largest cities had growth in output in the third quarter, and 66 of them had higher growth rates compared to the second quarter.

However, the performance still falls short of the stimulus-fueled first quarter 2010, during which output grew in all 100 areas.

Nevertheless, by the third quarter, output in 36 areas had already recovered to pre-recession levels.

Email Hao Li at hao.li@ibtimes.com