(REUTERS) Many cities across the United States are still scrambling to help their residents overcome the economic recession that officially ended more than two years ago, according to a survey released on Friday by the National League of Cities.

The league, which represents hundreds of civic officials, found that demand for survival services, such as food banks and housing shelters, had increased in 31 percent of cities over the last six months. It had fallen in only 8 percent of cities over that time.

Meanwhile, residential property values have declined in more than a third of cities, and commercial property values have dropped in 30 percent.

Still, more than half of those surveyed said employment and the retail sector had improved.

Our latest numbers point to improving local economic conditions, said Christopher Hoene, director of the Center for Research and Innovation at the National League of Cities.

It's clear that cities and city residents will still be confronting the impacts of this past recession for a while longer, Hoene said in a statement.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)