Special Report

American Cities Losing the Most Jobs This Year

Topeka, Kansas
Source: Thinkstock

15. Topeka, KS
> Employment change: -1.96%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 116,159
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 113,879
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.1%

Employment in the Topeka, Kansas metropolitan area fell by nearly 2% over the last 12 months, among the biggest declines in the country. Topeka’s government sector, its largest by employment as it accounts for nearly one in every four jobs, actually added about 400 jobs over the period. This was not enough to offset employment losses in both the manufacturing and the trade, transportation, and utilities sectors, the latter of which shed about 800 workers over that time.

Binghamton, New York
Source: Thinkstock

14. Binghamton, NY
> Employment change: -1.98%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 103,787
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 101,727
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.7%

Binghamton is one of many cities reporting rapid employment decline in New York’s Southern Tier region. The Southern Tier includes the neighboring Elmira metropolitan area, where employment declined 1.4% over the past year. In both metropolitan areas, job losses in manufacturing contributed substantially to the overall employment decline. Once home to major manufacturing operations for giants such as IBM, General Electric, and Endicott Johnson, Binghamton’s manufacturing sector today is a shadow of its post-WWII heyday.

Mankato, Minnesota
Source: Wikimedia Commons

13. Mankato-North Mankato, MN
> Employment change: -2.01%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 58,051
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 56,886
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 3.0%

The Mankato-North Mankato metropolitan area in Minnesota shed about 1,200 jobs over the past year. During that time, a similar number of workers left the labor force entirely. According to BLS chief regional economist Martin Kohli, the nationwide economic recovery over the past few years may have led to an acceleration of the long-term migratory trend of Americans moving from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and Southwest. This may have driven the decline in the Mankato region’s labor force. It appears that area employment will struggle to return to previous levels as an area plastics manufacturing plant, which had just opened in 2014, will close in early 2017, affecting 86 jobs.

Staunton, Virginia
Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Staunton-Waynesboro, VA
> Employment change: -2.02%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 56,138
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 55,003
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.4%

The Staunton-Waynesboro metropolitan area in northern Virginia lost about 1,100 workers over the past year. A similar number of people, possibly many of those who lost their jobs, left the labor force entirely. Still, even with the employment decline, unemployment in the area remains below national levels. While Staunton’s unemployment rate increased from 4.1% to 4.4% over the past year, it remained lower than the national unemployment rate of 4.9%.

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Source: Thinkstock

11. Tulsa, OK
> Employment change: -2.03%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 457,325
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 448,061
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.3%

Tulsa is one of three metro areas in Oklahoma in which total employment fell by more than 2.0%. While the number of jobs in Tulsa fell by roughly 9,300, the number of people in the area’s labor force fell by just 4,400, pushing the area’s unemployment rate higher. Tulsa’s unemployment rate surged from 4.2% in October 2015 to 5.3% in October 2016. The 1.1 percentage point increase is tied as the fourth largest of any metro area.

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