Jobs

In Some American Cities, the Jobless Rate Remains in Double Digits

The jobs situation in the United States has gained a level of health that could not have been imagined at the start of the COVID-19 recession. The jobless rate soared from well under 4% at the start of 2020 to double-digit percentages in April. The recovery, swift and persistent, pushed unemployment down to 3.6% this past February, as the economy added another 431,000 jobs. It seems, by that measure, that the United States had no recession at all. Or, better said, it lasted a remarkably short time.

Economists and government officials regularly point out that the jobless rate in certain cities has dropped well below 3%. In some cities, both in the Midwest and Utah, figures are closer to 2%.

Left behind, both based on the U.S. trend and most discourse about economic improvement, several cities continue to post jobless rates above 10%. Most are in areas where the jobless rate has been higher than the national average for decades. No national jobs programs have changed this.

El Centro, part of the inland valley of California, had a jobless rate of 15.6% in January. The economy is dominated by parts of the agricultural industry that have not recovered from drought. Most residents in these areas remain extremely poor. Nothing on the horizon can change this, or the level of joblessness brought on by changes in the environment and deteriorated profits among agricultural companies.


Texas border towns also continue to post high jobless rates. In McAllen, the figure reached 9% in January.

Can the federal or state governments address these pockets of unemployment? Given their persistence, either it cannot be done or have not been addressed for some reason.

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