10. St. George, Utah
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5%
> Decrease in people employed: -2,799 (34th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 9.9% (145th highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 7.6% (148th lowest)
The state of Utah has lost 5,697 jobs between June 2009 and June 2012. The St. George area alone has lost 2,799 jobs over that same time. Though it may seem to be a positive that the area’s unemployment rate fell 2.3 percentage points in the past three years, much of this decline is the result of individuals rapidly exiting the labor force. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of people in the labor force declined 7.4%. From June 200 7 through June 2012, the number of workers employed in St. George by the mining, logging and construction sector declined by a whopping 60%, from 9,000 to just 3,600. However, there may soon be a recovery in mining jobs as plans to construct a gypsum mine in the area have been approved by local officials.
9. Carson City, Nev.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5%
> Decrease in people employed: -1,308 (61st largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 11.1% (90th highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 11.8% (22nd highest)
Even though unemployment fell 1.1 percentage points, from 12.9% in June 2011 to 11.8% in June 2012, this was accompanied by a 3.5% contraction in the labor force. This shows that declines in unemployment were not part of a real economic improvement, but rather caused by workers leaving the workforce. Many of the job losses in Carson City are the result of tight state and local budgets. In 2012, the Nevada State Prison in Carson City was closed and more than 100 people lost their jobs. Companies also were laying off workers during this time. Harley Davidson Financial Services cut more than a hundred of its staff located in Carson City. Replacement parts company Chromalloy laid off more than 130 employees in the area in the past two years after already cutting 150 positions in 2008. On the bright side, the mining industry is expected to create numerous new jobs in the area over the next couple of years.
8. Alexandria, La.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.2%
> Decrease in people employed: -3,420 (27th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 7.5% (77th lowest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 8.7% (148th highest)
The recession was tough on Alexandria: area unemployment has risen in each of the preceding three years, as the unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percentage points between June 2009 and June 2012. Since June of 2009, the number of people employed has fallen from 65,710 to 62,290. Much of the area’s job loss came from the government sector, which shed 900 jobs in the past three years. In the past year alone, the number of workers in Alexandria has fallen by 1,156, or 1.8% — one of the larger declines in the nation.
7. Madera-Chowchilla, Calif.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.5%
> Decrease in people employed: -3,204 (29th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 13.5% (tied for 25th highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 14.6% (10th highest)
Though down from 15.5% unemployment in June 2011, the 2012 unemployment rate is almost 90% more than the national average. Much of the decrease in employment in the area in the past three years is the result of losses of government jobs. On January 20, 2010, all of Madera County employees were issued layoff notices due to the budget crisis. The area is anticipating further job cuts, many in the education sector due to lack of funds. Four of Madera County’s nine school districts filed their budget in a “qualified” status, meaning they most likely will not be able to meet financial obligations this year or in the next two years and will need to cut back staff.
6. Flagstaff, Ariz.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.6%
> Decrease in people employed: -3,936 (22nd largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 8.4% (140th lowest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 8.3% (171st highest)
Though it has declined by more than 1 percentage point in just the past year, Flagstaff’s unemployment rate is only slightly lower than it was in June 2009. Despite the unemployment rate barely improving in the past three years, the number of people employed in Flagstaff has actually declined by 5.6% in that time. Related to this, the size of Flagstaff’s labor force has declined by 5.7% since 2009 and 3.7% in the past year alone — the fifth-largest decline nationwide. The leisure and hospitality sector had a particularly large decline in employment with 900 jobs lost between June 2011 and June 2012, representing more than half of all jobs lost in the area.