Jobless Rate Still Above 10% in Several Cities

The recession has not left a number of cities, mostly in central California, which is racked by drought and a slow recovery from the housing bubble. As the national unemployment rate hovers just above 6%, some metropolitan areas still have jobless rates above 10%.

In California, these cities include El Centro at 25.1%, Fresno at 10.1%, Hanford-Corcoran at 10.6%, Merced at 11.3%, Modesto at 10.2%, Stockton at 10.3%, Visalia-Porterville at 11.8% and Yuba City at 11%, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analysis of August unemployment by city. A look at a map shows these run in a line inland from the California coast and down from San Francisco to San Maria. The length of the strip from north to south is little more than 200 miles. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, all suffer from the worst level the organization has among its measurements — exceptional drought.

The other cities with 10% unemployment or worse are scattered outside of California. Yuma in Arizona has an unemployment rate of 28%. Because its primary industry is agriculture, seasonal factors affect its number.

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The unemployment rate in Dalton, Ga., is 10.7%. Among the primary industries there is carpet making, much of which may have been automated. Rocky Mount, N.C., is on the list with an unemployment rate of 10.2%.

Once again, the numbers show that all unemployment is local, as is the case with other measures like population, poverty and education. For some reason, the efforts to raise employment in cities that have jobless rates in double digits have not worked, or there have not been any efforts at all.

BLS Technical Methodology note: Method of estimation. CES State and Area employment data are produced using several estimation procedures. Where possible these data are produced using a “weighted link relative” estimation technique in which a ratio of current-month weighted employment to that of the previous-month weighted employment is computed from a sample of establishments reporting for both months. The estimates of employment for the current month are then obtained by multiplying these ratios by the previous month’s employment estimates. The weighted link relative technique is utilized for data series where the sample size meets certain statistical criteria.

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