Special Report

This Is the US City Where the Most People Are Out of Work

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After crashing from a five-decade best national jobless rate of 3.5% in February to a multi decade high of 14.7% in April, the figure settled at 6.7% in December. Based on the country’s rate over the last five years, that is still high. The total number of people unemployed in December was 10.73 million compared to 5.84 million in December 2019.

Unemployment rates varied significantly by city according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment Summary for December 2020. Among the data the BLS follows each month is the jobless rate in the 51 metropolitan areas with a 2010 Census population of one million or more. In December, among these Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV had an unemployment rate of 10.4%. This has been attributed mostly to the collapse of tourism to gambling mecca due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lowest rate was 3.5% in both Birmingham-Hoover, AL, and Salt Lake City, UT. The unemployment rate rose in each of the 51 metros from December 2019 to December 2020. 

24/7 Wall St. looked at several ways that city job situations are measured. The first is the unemployment rate most often seen by the public. The next is the size of the civilian labor force in each city. This does not include government or farm workers, or people who work for non-profits. The city with the largest figure for civilian labor force is the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro at 9,521,481. The next data point is the number of people who are unemployed. For New York, this was 797,026 in December. For all other metros we examined, we looked at each of these three figures for both December 2019 and December 2020.

Click here to see the US cities where the most people are out of work.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

51. Birmingham-Hoover, AL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 22,486
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 13,603
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.4%
> Population: 1,090,435

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Source: 4kodiak / Getty Images

50. Salt Lake City, UT
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 26,059
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 3.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 15,812
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.3%
> Population: 1,232,696

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

49. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 26,890
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 16,047
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 1,077,370

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

48. Richmond, VA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 34,259
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 19,288
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 1,290,866

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Source: Urbanative / Wikimedia Commons

47. Oklahoma City, OK
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 35,784
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 20,945
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.0%
> Population: 1,408,950

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

46. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 35,877
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.4%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 24,599
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.6%
> Population: 1,266,389

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

45. Jacksonville, FL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 38,193
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.9%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 22,404
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 1,559,514

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

44. Raleigh, NC
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 38,524
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.4%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 22,946
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.1%
> Population: 1,390,785

Source: Jacek_Sopotnicki / Getty Images

43. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 40,105
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.5%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 25,312
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.7%
> Population: 1,127,983

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Source: Davel5957 / Getty Images

42. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 44,848
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.4%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 25,252
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.9%
> Population: 1,765,031

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

41. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 47,134
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.3%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 30,302
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 2,076,531

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

40. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 50,403
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 30,273
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.7%
> Population: 1,575,179

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

39. Memphis, TN-MS-AR
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 50,567
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.5%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 26,146
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.0%
> Population: 1,344,910

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

38. New Orleans-Metairie, LA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 51,108
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.6%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 29,590
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.9%
> Population: 1,270,530

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

37. Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 52,017
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 24,036
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.8%
> Population: 1,204,877

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

36. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 53,320
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.9%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 23,973
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.4%
> Population: 1,624,578

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Source: TriggerPhoto / Getty Images

35. Kansas City, MO-KS
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 55,213
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 38,498
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.3%
> Population: 2,155,068

Source: traveler1116 / Getty Images

34. Columbus, OH
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 55,564
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 38,792
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.5%
> Population: 2,122,271

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

33. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 57,610
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 40,810
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.6%
> Population: 2,219,750

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Source: benedek / Getty Images

32. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 60,813
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.5%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 28,506
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.6%
> Population: 1,933,860

Source: SpVVK / Getty Images

31. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 66,955
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 26,703
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.4%
> Population: 1,990,660

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Source: dszc / Getty Images

30. Austin-Round Rock, TX
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 67,615
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.4%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 32,824
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.6%
> Population: 2,227,083

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

29. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 67,839
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.9%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 41,165
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.9%
> Population: 2,048,449

Source: HaizhanZheng / Getty Images

28. Pittsburgh, PA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 78,838
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 58,870
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.8%
> Population: 2,317,600

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Source: jose1983 / Getty Images

27. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 79,114
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 41,846
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.1%
> Population: 2,493,221

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

26. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 80,983
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.7%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 37,304
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.1%
> Population: 2,550,960

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

25. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 81,178
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 44,898
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.3%
> Population: 2,636,883

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

24. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 83,808
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 51,291
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.4%
> Population: 2,800,053

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

23. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 85,946
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.6%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 44,736
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 3,194,831

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Source: JPosvancz / Getty Images

22. Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 87,552
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.0%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 36,887
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.3%
> Population: 2,363,730

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

21. St. Louis, MO-IL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 89,655
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 51,304
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.4%
> Population: 2,801,423

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Source: StevenGaertner / Getty Images

20. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 91,619
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 4.7%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 62,898
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.1%
> Population: 3,640,043

Source: LUNAMARINA / Getty Images

19. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 92,057
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.1%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 37,192
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.7%
> Population: 2,608,147

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

18. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 113,461
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 10.5%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 41,851
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.7%
> Population: 2,266,715

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Source: dancestrokes / Getty Images

17. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 131,396
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 47,361
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.0%
> Population: 3,338,330

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

16. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 147,691
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.5%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 40,378
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.4%
> Population: 2,967,239

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Source: aiisha5 / Getty Images

15. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 167,944
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 67,190
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.1%
> Population: 3,979,845

Source: Dreamframer / Getty Images

14. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 179,736
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 97,168
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.8%
> Population: 4,948,203

Source: graphiknation / iStock via Getty Images

13. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 180,028
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 5.8%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 86,658
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.8%
> Population: 6,018,744

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Source: stellalevi / Getty Images

12. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 183,320
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.3%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 63,403
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.4%
> Population: 4,731,803

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

11. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 187,795
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.9%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 70,021
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.5%
> Population: 4,873,019

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Source: MattGush / Getty Images

10. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 192,149
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 9.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 78,881
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.8%
> Population: 4,650,631

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 201,777
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.0%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 101,372
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.9%
> Population: 6,280,697

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

8. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 213,840
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.0%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 142,051
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.5%
> Population: 6,102,434

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Source: ULora / Getty Images

7. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 217,457
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 7.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 76,478
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 2.4%
> Population: 6,166,488

Source: Steven_Kriemadis / Getty Images

6. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 219,920
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 10.2%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 87,389
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 4.0%
> Population: 4,319,629

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Source: f11photo / Getty Images

5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 268,752
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 6.7%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 129,028
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.2%
> Population: 7,573,136

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

4. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 284,211
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.3%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 131,756
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.8%
> Population: 7,066,140

Source: RudyBalasko / Getty Images

3. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 403,335
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.6%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 168,394
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.5%
> Population: 9,457,867

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Source: Melpomenem / Getty Images

2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 637,544
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 9.9%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 263,681
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.9%
> Population: 13,214,799

Source: GCShutter / Getty Images

1. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
> Unemployed population, Dec 2020: 800,642
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2020: 8.4%
> Unemployed population, Dec 2019: 367,719
> Unemployment rate, Dec 2019: 3.7%
> Population: 19,216,182

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