Special Report

American Cities Losing the Most Jobs This Year

Mansfield, Ohio
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Mansfield, OH
> Employment change: -2.33%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 50,576
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 49,399
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 5.6%

Cities without a talented, educated workforce often rely on one dominant, low-skilled industry and may be more vulnerable to changes in commodity prices and other market shifts than more diversified economies. Nearly one in five workers in Mansfield works in manufacturing, and just 14.4% of adults in the metro area have at least a bachelor’s degree. As demand for American manufacturing continues to decline, Mansfield’s reliance on the industry may have partially caused accelerated employment decline over the past year. The number of employed workers in the city decreased by 2.3% in 2016, more than nearly any other metro area.

Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
> Employment change: -2.35%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 180,977
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 176,731
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 6.8%

Employment in the Shreveport-Bossier City area decreased by over 4,200 workers in the past year. During the same period, nearly an equal amount of people left the labor force.

Following the statewide trend, the Shreveport area is losing workers in the oil and gas sector. Unlike other areas in Louisiana that are more dependent on the oil and gas industry, however, Shreveport has a more diverse economy, and employment losses in this industry have had a less dramatic effect on the area’s overall employment. Still, due to falling oil prices and reduced natural gas production at the Haynesville Shale — a rock formation rich in natural gas — the industry’s job losses accounted for a sizable share of the area’s 2.3% employment decrease.

3. Houma-Thibodaux, LA
> Employment change: -3.74%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 91,738
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 88,311
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 6.7%

The number of employed workers in the Houma-Thibodaux area decreased by around 3,400 in the past year. While area employment declined by 3.7%, the number of workers increased by 1.7% nationwide. A large share of the area’s employment decline resulted from a shrinking oil and gas sector. Following a drop in oil prices and the first decrease in North American oil production in years, many oil workers nationwide have lost their jobs. The effects of these industry declines are exaggerated in Houma-Thibodaux, where a large share of residents are employed in the sector.

2. Casper, WY
> Employment change: -3.77%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 40,156
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 38,644
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 6.6%

The Casper metro area lost around 1,500 employed workers in the past year. This 3.8% decrease was largely caused by a declining coal mining industry in Wyoming. During the first quarter of 2016, coal production nationwide was the lowest it has been in 35 years, with Wyoming among the regions whose production has declined the most. The Casper metro area is around 100 miles from America’s two largest coal mines. Earlier this year, both of these mines announced large layoffs.

Whitewashed Wall around Lafayette, Louisiana
Source: Thinkstock

1. Lafayette, LA
> Employment change: -4.46%
> No. of jobs Oct. 2015: 210,224
> No. of jobs Oct. 2016: 200,845
> Unemployment rate Oct. 2016: 7.1%

The Lafayette metro area lost around 9,400 workers in the past year. Employment in the area fell by around 4.5%, even as nationwide employment increased by 1.7%. Following a trend of declining manufacturing employment nationwide, Lafayette’s manufacturing sector shed the most jobs of any industry. The employment declines likely led to a large share of residents giving up looking for work or leaving the area. The overall labor force decreased by nearly 8,500 in the past year. This 3.8% decline in labor force was the largest of any U.S. metro area.

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