5. Michigan City-LaPorte, Ind.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.7%
> Decrease in people employed: -2,728 (35th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 12.1% (54th highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 9.7% (74th highest)
In 2011, the LaPorte hospital laid off more than 100 workers because of a weak economy and the swelling number of uninsured patients. The increase in the number of uninsured people is not surprising given the number of job losses in the area over the past couple of years. This summer, Federal-Mogul Corp. (NASDAQ: FDML), an automobile parts maker, is closing down a factory and moving its production to Mexico in an effort to cut costs and save money, resulting in the loss of 100 jobs by the end of the year. This is not the only manufacturing company to close down or lay off workers in the area. Other companies include Weil-McLain and Sullair.
4. Prescott, Ariz.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.8%
> Decrease in people employed: -5,140 (15th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 10.4% (121st highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 8.7% (148th highest)
In the past three years, the number of people employed has dropped dramatically in Prescott from 89,328 workers in 2009 to just 84,188 by 2012. This was part of a larger decline in the size of Prescott’s labor force, which shrank by 7.5% between 2009 and 2012, the fourth-largest contraction in the nation over that time. However, the worst may be over as the number of workers in Prescott declined by just 137, or 0.2%, between June 2011 and June 2012. In June 2012, just three of 10 sectors had year-over-year declines in employment — government, education and health — and other services sectors each lost about 100 jobs.
3. Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -5.8%
> Decrease in people employed: -6,241 (13th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 8.7% (160th lowest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 9.1% (114th highest)
One of two state college towns on the list, Champaign-Urbana lost 800 government jobs between June 2011 and June 2012. One of the private employers laying people off is Archer Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM). Due to lower corn and bean yields, the company does not have enough work to contract workers through Zachry Construction.
2. Brunswick, Ga,
> Pct. decrease of employed: -6.1%
> Decrease in people employed: -2,991 (31st largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 9.4% (180th lowest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 10.5% (44th lowest)
Between 2009 and 2012, 2,695 people in Brunswick stopped working or looking for work, thereby reducing the size of the labor force by 5%. Additionally, even as the labor force shrank, the number of people in the labor force who were unemployed rose from 5,039 in June 2009 to 5,335 in June 2012. This combination of a shrinking labor force and growing unemployment resulted in 2,991 jobs lost — one of the larger decreases in the nation. However, the city’s employment loss trends began to reverse themselves in the most recent year, as Brunswick added 373 jobs and the number of unemployed workers fell by 234.
1. Dalton, Ga.
> Pct. decrease of employed: -8%
> Decrease in people employed: -4,446 (19th largest)
> June 2009 unemployment rate: 12.7% (43rd highest)
> June 2012 unemployment rate: 12.3% (19th highest)
Dalton’s unemployment rate is 2.7 percentage points higher than the unemployment rate of Georgia, and 4 percentage points higher than the national average. One of the many private employers laying people off in Dalton is Shaw Industries. In October, 2011, the Dalton Daily Citizen announced that the carpeting manufacturer was planning to shut its Dalton plant down by the end of the year and cut 270 jobs. Beaulieu Group, a floor manufacturer, also shut down two plants in the area that together accounted for 320 jobs. A depressed housing market can be blamed for these closures. Government funding also has been cut back in the region, meaning more layoffs and furloughs. The Health Department kept its offices closed two Fridays a month in the first half of the year due to declining state and local funding.
-Alexander E. M. Hess, Lisa Uible and Michael B. Sauter
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