Unemployment Over 20% in Some Cities

May 29, 2014 by Douglas A. McIntyre

179125086Unemployment remains more than 20% in two of America’s metro areas, and above 15% in a number of others. While the recession may be over throughout most of the United States, it lingers in some regions.

The unemployment rate in Yuma, Ariz., is 23.8%. In El Centro, Calif., it is 21.6%. El Centro sits in an area of California in which unemployment in many metro areas is double the national average. In Merced the figure is 14.3%, in Yuba City the figure is 14.5%, in Hanford it is 13.1% and in Visalia it is 13.4%. In several┬ámetros close to these, the figure is above 10%. Most of them are inland from San Francisco and the area just south of it, which also happens to be among the nation’s most drought-plagued regions. This means jobs recovery is highly unlikely.

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According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on metro areas for April, there are a number of other pockets of high unemployment. Among these are the old industrial cities of Illinois, south of Chicago. Unemployment in Decatur is 9.1%. In Danville it is 8.9%, and in Rockford, 9.2%.

Yet another pocket of high unemployment runs from Detroit along the corridor that used to be home to many of the nation’s largest car factories. These include Detroit at 7.9%, Flint at 7.8%, Bay City at 7.7% and Saginaw at 7.5%.

Cities within states that were never deeply damaged by the recession continue to have unemployment rates well below the national average. These include Provo, Utah, at 3%, Midland, Texas, at 3.2% and Odessa, Texas, at 3.9%. Several cities close to these two in Texas have unemployment below 4%. Unemployment across the sparsely populated Northern Plains is also particularly low. The rate in Bismarck, N.D. is 2.6%. In Lincoln, Neb., it is 2.9%, in Des Moines, Iowa, it is 3.9% and in Billings, Mont., 3.3%.

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BLS summary:

Unemployment rates were lower in April than a year earlier in 357 of the 372 metropolitan areas, higher in 12 areas, and unchanged in 3 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Fourteen areas had jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent and 118 areas had rates of less than 5.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 302 metropolitan areas, decreased in 63 areas, and was unchanged in 7 areas. The national unemployment rate in April was 5.9 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 7.1 percent a year earlier.