Special Report

Cities With the Highest (and Lowest) Unemployment Rates

Salinas, California
Source: Thinkstock

8. Salinas, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.4%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 9.6%
> Median household income: $57,864
> Poverty rate: 17.2%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 23.1%

The economy of Salinas, located near California’s coast, is primarily driven by the region’s agriculture. Of workers in the state, 18.8% are employed in the sector, one of the highest percentages in the country. The metro area has suffered immensely from the state’s ongoing drought — now in its fifth year.

Yuba City, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Yuba City, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.6%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.5%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 9.3%
> Median household income: $48,115
> Poverty rate: 17.8%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 16.7%

Yuba City’s relatively weak housing market and the low levels of education among workers help explain the region’s struggling job market. These factors will also make a recovery far more challenging. While fourth quarter home prices in 2015 are up 6.6% from the same time the year before, they are down 31.6% compared to the end of 2005. Of adults in the city, 16.7% have a bachelor’s degree, one of the lowest college attainment rates nationwide.

Hanford, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Hanford-Corcoran, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
10.9%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 11.7%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 8.8%
> Median household income: $42,784
> Poverty rate: 26.6%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 11.5%

Higher educational attainment typically leads to more job opportunities. In Hanford-Corcoran, only 11.5% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, the smallest share of any metro area in the country. With a low educational attainment rate, the city has one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States.

Merced, California
Source: Thinkstock

5. Merced, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
11.9%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 12.8%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 10.0%
> Median household income: $44,084
> Poverty rate: 25.2%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 13.9%

Merced has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country as well as a struggling housing market. Metro home prices dropped nearly 40% from pre-recession levels, one of the worst declines in the country.

Porterville, California
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Visalia-Porterville, CA
> December 2015 unemployment rate:
12.2%
> Unemployment rate, December 2014: 13.0%
> Unemployment rate, December 2005: 9.5%
> Median household income: $42,611
> Poverty rate: 28.6%
> Pct. of adults with a bachelor’s degree: 12.3%

Visalia’s unemployment rate of 12.2% has improved measurably each year since 2010, when the jobless rate peaked at 18.3%. Still, the job market remains weaker compared to December 2005, when less than 10% of the area’s workforce was unemployed.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.