Special Report

Cities With the Worst Unemployment Since the Pandemic Started

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. Springfield, MA
> Unemployment rate, June 2020: 16.7%
> Year-to-date employment change: -18.4%
> Cumulative COVID-19 cases to date: 8,800 (1,255 per 100,000 people)
> Poverty rate: 15.4%
> Population: 631,761

Massachusetts is one of the hardest hit states by the COVID-19 pandemic — both in terms of public health and economic consequences. In Springfield, one of several metro areas in the state to rank on this list, the number of people working has declined by a staggering 18.4%. As of June, the unemployment rate in Springfield stood at 16.7%, compared to the 11.1% national jobless rate.

The widespread unemployment in Springfield is causing considerable economic harm to residents of a metro area where financial hardship was relatively common to begin with. In Springfield, 15.4% of the population lives below the poverty line, compared to 13.1% of Americans nationwide.

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

17. Kokomo, IN
> Unemployment rate, June 2020: 17.1%
> Year-to-date employment change: -9.6%
> Cumulative COVID-19 cases to date: 751 (912 per 100,000 people)
> Poverty rate: 11.2%
> Population: 82,366

Kokomo is one of only 17 U.S. metro areas with an unemployment rate over 17%. Still, the metro area’s job market has improved substantially in recent months. As recently as April, the area’s unemployment rate was 33.8%, making the city one of only four nationwide where more than one in every three members of the labor force were unemployed.

The job market in the Kokomo metro area still has a long way to recover. In June of 2019, just 3.7% of workers in the area were unemployed.

Source: GCShutter / Getty Images

16. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
> Unemployment rate, June 2020: 17.1%
> Year-to-date employment change: -15.5%
> Cumulative COVID-19 cases to date: 506,636 (2,623 per 100,000 people)
> Poverty rate: 12.3%
> Population: 20.0 million

New York City was long considered the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Across the broader New York metro area, there have been over half a million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, or 2,623 for every 100,000 people, more than double the concentration nationwide.

The broader New York metropolitan area has also taken a harder hit economically than most of the country. Unemployment in the metro area stands at 17.1%, compared to the 11.1% national jobless rate. At the beginning of 2020, the unemployment rate in New York was just 3.6%.

Source: LPETTET / iStock via Getty Images

15. Bakersfield, CA
> Unemployment rate, June 2020: 17.4%
> Year-to-date employment change: -15.4%
> Cumulative COVID-19 cases to date: 17,394 (1,970 per 100,000 people)
> Poverty rate: 20.6%
> Population: 896,764

There are 56,000 fewer people working in Bakersfield now than there were at the beginning of 2020. Mass layoffs, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, drove the local unemployment rate up from 7.4% in January to 17.4% in June.

Bakersfield ‘s widespread unemployment is causing considerable economic harm to residents of a metro area where financial hardship was relatively common to begin with. In Bakersfield, 20.6% of the population lives below the poverty line, compared to 13.1% of Americans nationwide.

Source: shakzu / Getty Images

14. Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ
> Unemployment rate, June 2020: 17.5%
> Year-to-date employment change: -12.6%
> Cumulative COVID-19 cases to date: 3,144 (2,050 per 100,000 people)
> Poverty rate: 14.6%
> Population: 150,972

Many of the U.S. cities that have experienced soaring unemployment as a result of the pandemic are located in New Jersey. One of them is Vineland-Bridgeton, where 17.5% of the labor force is unemployed. Since January, nearly 8,000 jobs in the metro area have disappeared.

Like much of the Northeast, the Vineland-Bridgeton has had an especially high concentration of the novel coronavirus. There have been 2,050 cases of COVID-19 for every 100,000 people to date, well above the 1,309 cases per 100,000 people nationwide.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.