5. Auburn-Opelika, Ala.
> Employed pct. decrease: 2.37%
> Total employed decrease: 1,529
> Workforce: 67,650
> Unemployment rate: 6.7%
As of October, the number of jobs in the Auburn-Opelika area’s largest employment sector, the government, declined by 7.2% from the year before. In all, the area lost nearly 2.4% of the jobs that were available the previous October. Although the area’s unemployment rate of 6.7% remained considerably better than the national rate of 7.9%, unemployment conditions were effectively unchanged. Between October 2011 and October 2012 the unemployment rate rose by just 0.1 percentage points.
4. Colorado Springs, Colo.
> Employed pct. decrease: 2.65%
> Total employed decrease: 7,637
> Workforce: 307,237
> Unemployment rate: 8.8%
Colorado Springs lost more than 7,500 jobs between October 2011 and October 2012. Especially hard hit was the area’s mining and construction industry, which shed7.5% of all its jobs. In May, one newly opened mine laid off 70 workers. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, these job cuts were caused by lower coal prices. Other sectors in Colorado Springs struggled as well. During the 12 months ending in October, the number of area manufacturing jobs decreased by 7%.
3. Hot Springs, Ark.
> Employed pct. decrease: 3.11%
> Total employed decrease: 1,234
> Workforce: 41,360
> Unemployment rate: 7.1%
The number of nonfarm jobs in Hot Springs was approximately 36,500 in October, down 2.1% from October 2011. Despite the loss in jobs, the unemployment rate in October was actually better than the 7.5% 12 months before due to a drop-off in the total labor force, as a net of more than 1,500 people exited the area’s workforce. There were 5,600 government jobs in the metropolitan area as of October, down 1.8% from the previous year.
2. Lawton, Okla.
> Employed pct. decrease: 3.43%
> Total employed decrease: 1,528
> Workforce: 46,311
> Unemployment rate: 7.0%
Lawton’s total non-farm jobs in October declined by 3.9% from October 2011. The financial services industry shrunk by 12% in this time, the biggest drop of all the major employment sectors. One employer, Assurant Solutions, which sells insurance products, has been in the process of laying off most of its 230 employees since April of this year. Other major declines in employment took place in the education and health services sector, where headcount was reduced by 10.3%, and in trade, transportation and utilities, where employment was down by 9%.
1. Norwich-New London, Conn-R.I.
> Employed pct. decrease: 3.47%
> Total employed decrease: 4,838
> Workforce: 147,986
> Unemployment rate: 9.0%
No metropolitan area in the country experienced worse job loss in the past year than Norwich-New London. The unemployment rate of 9% in October was up from 8.2% at the same time last year. In recent months, such companies as AT&T and Pfizer cut jobs in the area, as did smaller companies. The government sector, which employs the most people in the area, declined by 4% over the year. Both New London’s municipal government and school district cut headcount in recent months.
Michael B. Sauter, Samuel Weigley and Alexander E. M. Hess