American Cities Adding (and Losing) the Most Jobs

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Cities Losing the Most Jobs

10. Rocky Mount, N.C.
> Jobs pct. change: -1.9%
> Total non-farm jobs: 56,700
> Total workforce: 68,340
> Unemployment rate: 10.9%

While the number of non-farm jobs generally increased across the nation between October 2012 and October 2013, in Rocky Mount it declined by nearly 2%. The area’s workforce, which grew steadily between late 2007 and 2010, shrank by 4.5% in the 12 months through October of this year compared to the year before. In a UNC report on the region’s competitiveness, W.B. Bullock, a Rocky Mount councilman, noted that city previously offered $100,000 in incentives to companies that can generate a certain amount of jobs. Local business leaders have noted that manufacturing is critical to the region’s economy. Unfortunately, the sector has been declining steadily for years. Of the 56,700 non-farm jobs, nearly 10,0000 were in manufacturing in October, well above the national share of jobs in the sector.

9. Peoria, Ill.
> Jobs pct. change: -2.2%
> Total non-farm jobs: 183,700
> Total workforce: 195,839
> Unemployment rate: 8.7%

There were 183,700 non-farm jobs in Peoria in October, 4,100 less than the year before. The local manufacturing sector’s output plummeted during the recession, but recovered somewhat between the start of 2010 and the end of 2012. Manufacturing employment, however, has fallen steadily over the last year. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, Inc., headquartered in Peoria, has suffered from lower demand for its products. The region still relies heavily on the sector, which accounted for more than 27,000 jobs in the metro area as of October, or approximately 15% of the region’s total non-farm employment. Nationally, manufacturing employment accounted for 8.7% of all jobs in October. While unemployment in the majority of U.S. metro areas has declined, the unemployment rate in Peoria has increased to 8.7% in October 2013, one percentage point higher than the year before.

8. Longview, Wash.
> Jobs pct. change: -2.2%
> Total non-farm jobs: 35,800
> Total workforce: 40,805
> Unemployment rate: 9.0%

Longview’s workforce shrank by nearly 5% to less 41,000 residents between October 2012 and October 2013. This was the lowest level in over a decade. Longview’s job market is shrinking, but wages are still reasonably strong. The annual median wage in the region was roughly in line with the national median of $35,740 last year. Wood product giant Weyerhaeuser recently purchased Longview Timber for $2.7 billion. The acquisition may raise land value and stimulate the region’s economy, according to an Associated Press report.

7. Yuma, Ariz.
> Jobs pct. change: -2.3%
> Total non-farm jobs: 50,000
> Total workforce: 90,990
> Unemployment rate: 31.9%

Situated on the U.S.- Mexico border, Yuma had, by far, the highest unemployment rate of any metro area in the country this past October, at nearly 32%. Unlike most metro areas and the nation as a whole, Yuma’s unemployment rate has risen every year since 2007. Last year, it rose by 2.3 percentage points, the largest increase out of all metro areas. One factor influencing the high rate could be the high levels of immigration in that part of Arizona. Since Yuma relies heavily on the seasonal farming, which may drive the unemployment rate higher at certain times of the year. In February the unemployment rate was a relatively-low 25.6%. In the last few months, employment in most of the region’s major sectors has shrunk. Government sector payrolls have suffered in particular, according to Moody’s, in part because of military budget cuts.

6. Carson City, Nev.
> Jobs pct. change: -2.5%
> Total non-farm jobs: 27,400
> Total workforce: 26,653
> Unemployment rate: 9.6%

Roughly 700 non-farm jobs, or about 2.5%, were lost in the 12 months through October 2013. However, compared with many other metro areas with poor job markets, wages in Carson City were fairly high last year, at $37,460 per year, compared to the national median of $34,750. Government employment in Carson City plummeted in 2011 and has made shaky progress since then. As of this October, government employment was down by 2.1% compared to a year earlier. And if a new bill that aims to implement a 2% tax on Nevada businesses’ revenue is passed, some argue the private sector may find it difficult to increase hiring in the future.