Special Report

29 American Cities Losing the Most Jobs

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4. Farmington, NM
> 5 yr. employment change: -18.6% (-9,615 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 13.1%
> Median household income: $44,321
> Poverty rate: 21.2%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 123,958 (-3.3%)

Farmington, New Mexico, has one of the 10 highest August 2020 unemployment rates among U.S. metro areas, at 13.1%. This is partly the result of the 9,615 jobs lost over the past five years. Though the majority of these jobs were lost over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Farmington economy was struggling ahead of the pandemic.

From 2010- to 2019, over 10% of the population moved away. In 2019, Farmington’s median household income of $44,321 was over $21,000 lower than the U.S. median, and its poverty rate of 21.2% was one of the highest in the country.

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3. Salinas, CA
> 5 yr. employment change: -19.0% (-38,209 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 12.1%
> Median household income: $77,514
> Poverty rate: 12.7%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 434,061 (0.8%)

There were over 38,000 fewer people working in Salinas, California, in August 2020 compared to August 2015, a 19% decline in employment. From August 2015 through August 2019, the city added nearly 7,000 jobs, but in the year after, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the metro area lost more than 45,000 jobs.

Salinas, about 60 miles South of San Jose, reported an August 2020 unemployment rate of 12.1%, well above the 8.4% national rate, and slightly above California’s 11.4% unemployment rate for that month.

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2. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
> 5 yr. employment change: -22.7% (-18,700 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 21.0%
> Median household income: $80,754
> Poverty rate: 11.9%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 167,417 (2.1%)

The Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metro area of Hawaii, on the island of Maui, is one of just two American metro areas that have experienced employment declines of over 20% over the past five years. Like many of the other cities on this list, the impact of the pandemic has had a devastating effect on the Kahului area’s leisure and hospitality sector. There were 16,000 fewer people working in that sector in August 2020 than there were five years prior, accounting for the vast majority of the lost jobs. As of August 2020, the Kahului area had the nation’s highest unemployment rate, at 21.0%. The U.S. unemployment rate for that month was 8.4%.

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1. Ocean City, NJ
> 5 yr. employment change: -26.5% (-11,298 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 17.7%
> Median household income: $69,980
> Poverty rate: 8.8%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 92,039 (-2.3%)

Ocean City, New Jersey, is the only metro area in America in which employment declined by more than 25% from 2015 to 2020. There were 31,284 workers in the metro area in August 2020, down over 11,000 workers from five years prior. The city, known for its boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean, relies on the tourism industry, which was all but shut down in the earlier months of the pandemic. Ocean City’s August 2020 unemployment rate is 17.7% — more than double the national 8.4% unemployment rate.