The 4 Worst Cities to Find a Job

The unemployment rate is down for the country at large, but the recovery has been pretty spotty and these rates vary widely state-to-state. It’s important that folks looking for work understand the landscape of the current job market, so that they can make the best decisions for their futures. Recently, WalletHub released their report on 2016’s Best and Worst Cities to Find a Job.


(Photo Credit: Detroit, Michigan, by Mdrewe/Flickr)

Some of the 17 metrics analyzed by WalletHub in order to rank these cities carried especially important weight. Cities toward the bottom of the list tended to have high unemployment rates and high cost of living rates as well. Let’s take a closer look at the cities ranked as the worst places to find a job in 2016.

1. Stockton, California.

Stockton, California was determined to be the worst city to find a job in 2016. It has the third highest unemployment rate of all the cities listed, and partially as a result, a high poverty rate as well.

When asked about this city as well as other California towns that topped the list, Jill Gonzalez, analyst with WalletHub said, “A lot of cities there, Stockton, Ontario, San Bernardino, are still feeling effects from the recession; they have not yet fully recovered from bankruptcy, recession, and other types of strife.”

She also mentioned that things are better in other parts of California because of “the tech boom” which is “alive and well” in places such as Silicon Valley.

2. Fresno, California.

Fresno, California had the highest unemployment rate of all the cities profiled; it was tied with Detroit, Michigan. This large inland city does have a lot of potential though, and a lot to offer, from great food, to museums, and even a minor league ball park. There have been some indications of economic growth in recent years. Hopefully the tide will continue to turn in that direction.

3. Detroit, Michigan.

With a high unemployment rate and a low median annual income (adjusted for cost of living) it’s not hard to understand why Detroit made this list. Gonzalez is hopeful though for the future of many cities in the Midwest:

“The Midwest is actually making really huge climbs in lists like this because a lot of entrepreneurs are going from the big colleges and universities and settling down there and creating their own companies,” she said. “They’re really pulling from top talent and getting more bang for their buck, stretching their investment dollars further as well.”

A year after the city filed for bankruptcy, there are positive signs that the economy in Detroit is improving. Hopefully, we will see this city’s rank change for the better in the years to come.

4. Modesto, California.

Modesto, California is currently ranked as the fourth worst city to find a job. A high crime rate has followed unemployment problems, but the city is working hard to get back on its feet and there are some indications that an economic breakthrough could be on the way.

For now though, living in these cities could be a real challenge, particularly if you’re looking for work. Gonzalez offered some advice for people in this position:

“You have to think of moving of course,” she said. “There are some upfront costs there, but in the long run it really might pay off for you for years to come.”

For more information, be sure to check out the full report.

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