Special Report

American Cities Losing the Most Jobs This Year

Manhattan, Kansas
Source: Wikimedia Commons

10. Manhattan, KS
> Employment change: -2.03%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 49,209
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 48,208
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 3.5%

The number of employed workers in the Manhattan, Kansas metro area declined by 2.0% over the past year. By comparison, employment across the country grew by 1.7% over the same period. The job losses may have contributed to a shrinking labor force as well as rising unemployment. The Manhattan labor force contracted by 866 eligible workers between October 2015 and 2016. At the same time, the unemployment rate rose from 3.2% to 3.5%, reflecting an increase of 135 unemployed workers. In total, the metro area lost a little over 1,000 workers. One company that contributed to the area’s employment loss was the Florence Manufacturing Company, which laid off an estimated 80 workers in December 2015.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

9. Cheyenne, WY
> Employment change: -2.07%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 47,071
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 46,098
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.1%

Due to persistently depressed global oil prices, the mining, logging, and construction sector often led employment declines in the metropolitan areas that lost the largest share of workers in the past year. In Cheyenne, which reported one of the biggest relative overall employment declines in the country, the sector shed about 500 workers, or 12.5% of the sector’s workers. In an interview with the Wyoming Eagle Tribune at the beginning of 2016, Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen said that in addition to lost tax revenue from the oil sector, the regional decline of oil operations would likely affect the construction industry in the area as well in the future.

8. Lawton, OK
> Employment change: -2.07%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 51,029
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 49,971
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.8%

While the number of workers nationwide increased by 1.7% in the past year, employment in the Lawton, Oklahoma metro area decreased by 2.1%. With many Americans moving from the Midwest to the Sunbelt states, the Lawton labor force contracted by a net total of 671 eligible workers between October 2015 and 2016. Additionally, as the number of residents out of work grew by roughly 400 unemployed people, the city’s unemployment rate rose from 4.0% to 4.8%. The total number of workers in the metro area fell by more than 1,000, many of them in the oil and gas sector.

Carbondale, Illinois train station
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Carbondale-Marion, IL
> Employment change: -2.15%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 57,565
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 56,328
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.9%

Employment in the Carbondale-Marion metro area decreased by 2.1% over the past year. Unlike most cities losing jobs, Carbondale’s employment decline is likely less due to a weak economy and more the result of outbound migration. While the number of workers fell by roughly 1,200, the total labor force in the area fell by 1,500. So while there was one job less in Carbondale for every member of the workforce who moved from the metro area, some previously unemployed residents also found work. The area’s unemployment rate fell from 6.2% in October 2015 to 5.9% in October 2016, one of best improvements of any metro with a shrinking labor force.

Sun rise over Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Source: Thinkstock

6. Oklahoma City, OK
> Employment change: -2.20%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 647,024
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 632,814
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 4.4%

Oklahoma City is one of three metro areas in Oklahoma with employment decline greater than 2.0%. The job losses likely led to both outbound migration and rising unemployment onset by low energy prices. With many Americans relocating from the Midwest to the Sunbelt states, the Oklahoma City labor force contracted by a net total of 9,000 eligible workers in 2016. As the unemployment rate rose from 3.6% in October 2015 to 4.4% in October 2016, the number of unemployed workers grew by more than 5,000. In total, Oklahoma City lost an estimated 14,210 workers in 2016, more than any metro area in the country other than New York and Minneapolis.

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