In April 2020, the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed U.S. unemployment to near Great Depression levels. The rate began to fall throughout the year and into 2021. While the jobless rate has not fallen to the 3.5% level it posted in early 2020, it dropped to 5.5% in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, in some cities, the rate is over double that.
According to the bureau’s Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment report for May 2021, every one of the 389 metros measured had an improvement in its jobless rate from the same month a year ago. Additionally, the report showed “A total of 27 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 6 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent.”
The city with the highest unemployment rate in May was Yuma, Arizona, where the figure was 17.0%. This city usually has among the highest rates in the country. Yuma had a civilian labor force of 94,531. Of this number, 16,093 were without jobs. At least the jobless rate has dropped from 21.5% in May 2020.
Yuma’s population is 60% Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau. Another 33% are white. The city is extremely poor. The median household income of $47,998 is about $20,000 below the national average. The poverty rate is an extremely high 18.3%.
Yuma continues to suffer much more from the COVID-19 pandemic than almost any city in the country.