The decade since the end of the Great Recession in 2009 was one of historic economic growth in the United States. Over that period, the U.S. economy added about 20 million jobs and the unemployment rate hit its lowest level in decades. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sending the economy into a new recession and cancelling out nearly all of the employment gains of the last 10 years in a matter of months.
The unemployment rate in the United States stood at 11.1% as of June. While this is a marked improvement from the 14.7% jobless rate in April, it is still higher than at any time in at least the last 70 years. In some U.S. cities — many of which are major economic hubs — the unemployment crisis is far worse than it is nationwide.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed seasonally adjusted unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the metropolitan area level to identify the cities with the worst unemployment problem. Each of the 33 metro areas on this list has a jobless rate over 15%.
All else being equal, the severity of the consequences of unemployment for the 17.8 million Americans who are out of work varies, depending on where they live. Some parts of the country have relatively strong social safety nets, providing residents who are out of work access to a range of benefits with few restrictions. Here is a look at the worst states in which to be unemployed.
The economic crisis is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic — a major public health crisis. There have been nearly 5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States to date, including over 160,000 deaths attributed to the virus. In addition to soaring unemployment, many of the metro areas on this list are disproportionately affected by a high concentration of cases of the coronavirus. Here is a look at the cities where COVID-19 is growing the fastest.