Special Report

American Cities Losing the Most Jobs This Year

Lynchburg, Virginia, USA Skyline
Source: Thinkstock

25. Lynchburg, VA
> Employment change: -1.41%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 116,888
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 115,240
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.9%

The Lynchburg metro area lost a net total of more than 1,600 jobs in the past year. While U.S. total employment increased by 1.7%, Lynchburg employment fell by 1.4%. Similarly, while the number of education and health professionals declined by 3.3% in Lynchburg, employment in the education and health sector grew more than nearly any other industry nationwide. In February 2016, insurance company Genworth Financial announced it would lay off 200 workers in Lynchburg.

Unloading Truck Bloomington, Illinois
Source: Thinkstock

24. Bloomington, IL
> Employment change: -1.41%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 93,826
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 92,502
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.1%

The Bloomington metro area lost a net total of roughly 1,300 workers in 2016. While the area’s college attainment rate of 44% is among the highest in the country, the talented workforce did not attract jobs in the metropolitan area. The largest employment decline occurred in the manufacturing industry, which shed 1,200 workers over the past year. This was likely driven by the closing of the Mitsubishi Motors manufacturing plant in the metro area earlier in 2016, which led to the loss of roughly 1,000 workers.

23. Elmira, NY
> Employment change: -1.45%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 35,529
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 35,014
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.9%

There are roughly 500 fewer workers in the Elmira metro area today than there were one year ago. While the number of U.S. workers grew by 1.7% over the past year, the Elmira workforce contracted by 1.4% over the same period. Elmira is one of many cities undergoing rapid employment decline in New York’s Southern Tier region. The Southern Tier includes the neighboring Binghamton metropolitan area, where employment declined 2.0% over the past year. In both Binghamton and Elmira, manufacturing was among the sectors contributing to the largest workers losses.

Joplin, Missouri
Source: Wikimedia Commons

22. Joplin, MO
> Employment change: -1.54%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 84,395
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 83,093
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.5%

The number of jobs in Joplin fell by 1.5% in the past year, while nationwide employment increased by 1.7%. In October 2015, more than one in four Joplin employees worked in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, nearly the highest proportion of any metro area. Over the past year, however, Joplin’s largest sector shed a net total of 700 workers, contributing heavily to the area’s total employment decline. In addition to major losses in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, battery parts manufacturer Eagle Picher laid off 225 Joplin workers in the past year. Despite the Eagle Picher layoffs, Joplin’s manufacturing sector had net employment growth over the past year.

Beautiful exterior architectural design of First Presbyterian church in Vineland, New Jersey
Source: Thinkstock

21. Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ
> Employment change: -1.57%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 61,685
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 60,718
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 7.9%

The Vineland-Bridgeton metro area lost a net total of 967 workers in the 12 months ending October 2016. While employment in Vineland-Bridgeton fell by 1.6%, the total number of U.S. jobs nationwide increased by 1.7%. Cities with an educated workforce are more likely to attract cutting-edge businesses and have fewer obstacles to job growth. In Vineland-Bridgeton, however, just 13.5% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, less than half the 30.6% national college attainment rate. Vineland’s relatively small professional and business services sector, which includes many of the industries most likely to benefit from an educated labor force, lost more workers proportional to its size in the past year than any other sector in the metro area.

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