Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment

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Highest Unemployment Rate

24. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
> 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.0%
> 2013 poverty rate: 18.2%
> 2013 median household income: $53,220
> 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 20.1%

While less than 6.0% of the nation’s workforce was unemployed in November, 8.0% of the Riverside-San Bernardino metro area’s workforce was out of work, tied for the 24th highest unemployment rate compared with all metro areas. As in other weak job markets, and particularly those in California, the Riverside area was hit especially hard by the housing crisis. As of the first quarter of last year, home values had fallen 51.4% from their peak in 2007. The national decline in median home prices during that time was less than 16%.

24. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
> 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.0%
> 2013 poverty rate: 21.2%
> 2013 median household income: $39,058
> 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 11.3%

More than one in five workers in the Lake Havasu City-Kingman metro area was employed in the arts, entertainment, recreation and accommodation and food services industry, the fourth highest share compared to other metro areas and more than twice the share nationally. The high concentration of these traditionally low-paying jobs is due in part to the area’s reliance on tourism. A typical household earned less than $40,000 in 2013, one of the lowest median household incomes compared with other U.S. metro areas.

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22. Danville, IL
> 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
> 2013 poverty rate: 19.3%
> 2013 median household income: $45,089
> 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 13.9%

While Danville had one of the highest unemployment rates among metropolitan areas as of November, it also recorded the fourth best yearly improvement in unemployment, with its unemployment rate dropping 4.1 percentage points from November 2013. Danville faces a significant education gap, with just 86.2% of its adult residents holding a high school diploma or higher and just 13.9% holding at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the lowest educational attainment rates compared to all metro areas.

22. Rockford, IL
> 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
> 2013 poverty rate: 15.5%
> 2013 median household income: $48,027
> 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 21.0%

Rockford’s unemployment rate improved 3.3 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2014, fifth best of all metropolitan areas. Very few socioeconomic measures seem to be positive for Rockford. Its violent crime rate of 711.1 incidents per 100,000 residents was in the bottom quintile of all metro areas. Nearly 23% of Rockford’s workforce was employed by the manufacturing industry, one of the highest such proportions in the nation. Employment in the industry fell dramatically in 2009 and 2010, and has made only a modest recovery since.

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22. Redding, CA
> 2014 November unemployment rate: 8.1%
> 2013 poverty rate: 20.1%
> 2013 median household income: $40,332
> 2013 pct. with bachelor’s degree: 17.3%

Just slightly over one of six Redding adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher as of 2013 — 318th out of 358 metros. The residents’ low educational attainment may have contributed to the area’s high unemployment rate. At the same time, the median household income was $40,332, 317th out of 358 metro areas. In 2013, 16.5% of residents did not have health insurance.