Unemployment in the U.S. has been about 3.6% over the last six months. That is about the same as the number in the first two months of 2020, until the COVID-19 pandemic whipped out millions of jobs. While most parts of the nation have posted a complete recovery in two and a half years, one city stands out because of its remarkably high jobless rate. The unemployment rate in Yuma AZ is 17.1%. The city has been plagued by drought and year after year of a weak economy.
The BLS METROPOLITAN AREA EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT — SEPTEMBER 2022 showed the jobless rate in 354 of the 389 metros it tracks improved from the same month last year. A total of 150 cities had jobless rates under 3%. Mankato-North Mankato, MN, had the lowest unemployment rate, 1.3%.
Two had unemployment rates of more than 10%. In addition to Yuma, the other of these was El Centro CA at 16.0%.
There were 18,037 people out of work in September in Yuma, out of a total working population of 105,451. The city is poor. The median household income is $52,183, well below the national number, according to the Census Bureau.
Drought levels in the area are not only high, but they also have been at one of the highest levels given to geographic areas by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The forecast for the group is that the problem could persist at current levels. Yuma is near the southern border of California, where the trouble also has been persistent.
Part of the Yuma employment base is stable. Among the largest employers are the military and the government. However, the largest industry is agriculture, which has been decimated by a lack of rain.
The formula for Yuma’s job problem will not get any better. The city will remain among those with the highest unemployment in the country.
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