Special Report

29 American Cities Losing the Most Jobs

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14. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ
> 5 yr. employment change: -13.5% (-15,277 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 18.5%
> Median household income: $63,389
> Poverty rate: 11.1%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 263,670 (-2.4%)

Atlantic City is well known for its hotels and casinos. As these amenities were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 11,000 area workers lost their jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, the majority of the 15,277 jobs shed in the area in the last five years. Atlantic city has been slow to recover — the metro area’s August 2020 unemployment rate is 18.5%, the third highest rate of any U.S. metro area and more than double the national unemployment rate for the month.

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13. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> 5 yr. employment change: -13.7% (-32,283 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 11.1%
> Median household income: $48,558
> Poverty rate: 16.2%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 536,081 (-2.3%)

The Youngstown metro area along the Ohio-Pennsylvania border lost over 22,000 jobs from August 2019 to August 2020, or nearly 10% of its total employment. Yet the metro area has already been losing jobs, shedding more than 10,000 jobs from August 2015 to August 2019. In all, employment was down 13.7% over the past five years. Most metro areas on this list lost the most jobs in leisure and hospitality over the last half decade. But for this Rust Belt city, manufacturing has been hit the hardest. The Youngstown metro area has also lost thousands of jobs in retail trade, health care, and several other sectors.

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12. Santa Fe, NM
> 5 yr. employment change: -14.2% (-9,860 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 11.4%
> Median household income: $61,298
> Poverty rate: 13.0%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 150,358 (1.5%)

As of August 2020, Santa Fe, New Mexico, had nearly 10,000 fewer jobs than it had five years prior. Though the area added thousands of jobs from 2015 to 2019, it lost 13,000 from August 2019 to August 2020, or 18% of all jobs — the fifth highest share of any city. The most affected sector in Santa Fe was leisure and hospitality, though the area’s job market also lost over 1,500 jobs in the government and retail trade sectors over the past five years.

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11. Johnstown, PA
> 5 yr. employment change: -14.6% (-8,485 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 10.1%
> Median household income: $49,076
> Poverty rate: 15.3%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 130,192 (-4.3%)

Of the nearly 8,500 jobs lost in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, over the last five years, over 3,000 were lost from August 2015 through August 2019, indicating the area’s economy was in decline before COVID-19 hit. Of the cities that have lost the most jobs over the last five years, Johnstown is the only one in which the business services sector lost more jobs than any other sector.

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10. Enid, OK
> 5 yr. employment change: -14.7% (-4,255 jobs)
> August 2020 unemployment rate: 5.3%
> Median household income: $64,929
> Poverty rate: 10.1%
> 2019 population (pct. change from 2015): 61,056 (-3.5%)

Employment in Enid, Oklahoma, declined by 14.7% over the last five years, the 10th highest decline of U.S. metro areas. Unlike most of the cities on this list, the bulk of the jobs lost in Enid were lost from 2015 to 2019 — before the COVID-19 pandemic. And during the pandemic, it seems the city has not suffered as much as most U.S. cities. In fact, the city’s unemployment rate increased by just 2.3 percentage points from August 2019 to August 2020 to 5.3%. Nationwide, the unemployment rate increased by 3.3 percentage points over that time to 8.4%.