Special Report

Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment Rates

Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Arizona
Source: Thinkstock

18. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
7.6%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 8.4%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 4.0%
> Median household income: $37,674
> Poverty rate: 20.6%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 12.9%

Over the past 10 years, the unemployment rate in Lake Havasu has spiked dramatically. Despite the troubling long-term trend, the past 12 months were better as the area’s unemployment rate has declined by nearly a full percentage point.

Edinburg, Texas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

16. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
7.8%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 7.6%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 7.4%
> Median household income: $34,801
> Poverty rate: 34.0%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 17.9%

With a high unemployment rate, it may not be surprising that McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area is home to very few high earners. Less than 2% of area households earn more than $200,000 annually, one of the smallest such shares in the country.

Kennewick, Washington
Source: Thinkstock

16. Kennewick-Richland, WA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
7.8%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 9.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 7.8%
> Median household income: $58,020
> Poverty rate: 16.3%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.1%

Housing markets and labor markets are often closely tied. However, unlike most cities with high unemployment, Kennewick-Richland’s housing market is doing relatively well. As unemployment in the city is unchanged from 10 years ago, home prices have climbed by 22%.

Santa Cruz, California
Source: Thinkstock

15. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
8.5%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 9.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 6.6%
> Median household income: $65,368
> Poverty rate: 16.8%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 39.5%

Like most California cities with high unemployment, Santa Cruz-Watsonville also suffers from drought. With the agriculture industry suffering, many agricultural workers find themselves out of work. Unlike most cities with high unemployment, the metro area’s population is relatively well educated. Nearly 40% of adults in the city have a bachelor’s degree, a much larger share than is typical in most U.S. cities.

Stockton-Lodi, California
Source: Thinkstock

14. Stockton-Lodi, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
8.8%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 10.0%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 7.5%
> Median household income: $51,659
> Poverty rate: 20.9%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 18.3%

While Stockton-Lodi’s unemployment rate has climbed from 7.5% a decade ago to 8.8% this past December, the area’s housing market has taken an even larger hit. Metro area home prices have plunged 33.6% in the past decade, one of the largest declines of any American city.

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