Special Report

Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment Rates

Modesto, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. Modesto, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
9.1%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 10.4%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 7.8%
> Median household income: $51,084
> Poverty rate: 18.0%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 17.0%

As in most metro areas with the highest unemployment rates, Modesto’s weak housing market recovery largely explains the poor job market. Metro home prices are 33.1% lower than they were in 2005, nearly the worst decline of any U.S. metro area over that period.

Madera, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Madera, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.1%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.4%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 7.6%
> Median household income: $42,433
> Poverty rate: 22.2%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 12.2%

As in many cities with high unemployment, the housing market in Madera is hurting. Home prices have fallen by nearly a third since 2005.

Bakersfield, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Bakersfield, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 10.0%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 8.0%
> Median household income: $47,644
> Poverty rate: 24.8%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 15.4%

Bakersfield is one of only a dozen U.S. cities with a double digit unemployment rate. More than 10% of the city’s workforce of roughly 400,000 are in need of a job.

Yakima, Washington
Source: Thinkstock

10. Yakima, WA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.6%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 9.9%
> Median household income: $44,648
> Poverty rate: 20.3%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 14.5%

As is the case with every city in Washington with an exceptionally high unemployment rate, Yakima’s housing market is relatively resilient. Despite climbing long-term unemployment, home prices in the area have increased by more than 19% over the past 10 years.

Fresno, California
Source: Thinkstock

9. Fresno, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.3%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 8.5%
> Median household income: $43,423
> Poverty rate: 27.7%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 19.7%

As unemployment in Fresno has climbed from 8.5% to 10.3% in the past decade, the housing market has also suffered. Home prices have fallen by more than 28% in the same period, one of the sharpest declines in the country.

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