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Highest Unemployment Rates by City

To sum up the current unemployment status with just one number would be unfair. (Although, if we did, it would be 5.5 percent. Things are definitely looking up!) But unemployment data can't be boiled down quite that easily. Unemployment may be the lowest it's been in quite some time, overall, but the rate varies so widely that one number alone can't tell the tale. States and regions experience different economic realities, and the unemployment rate varies greatly by ethnicity as well.

To sum up the current unemployment status with just one number would be unfair. (Although, if we did, it would be 5.5 percent. Things are definitely looking up!) But unemployment data can’t be boiled down quite that easily. Unemployment may be the lowest it’s been in quite some time, overall, but the rate varies so widely that one number alone can’t tell the tale. States and regions experience different economic realities, and the unemployment rate varies greatly by ethnicity as well.

not hiring sign

(Photo Credit: srqpix/Flickr)

For example, Wisconsin has the highest annual unemployment rate for African-Americans, nearly 20 percent. And, nationwide, the unemployment rate for African-Americans is 11 percent. Regionally, we see similarly striking discrepancies. In order to understand the current state of the workplace economy, it’s important to take all of this data into consideration.

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Last month, 24/7 Wall St released their examination of recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, generating a list of the cities with the highest and lowest unemployment rates. Let’s take a look at the three cities with the highest rates. Read this piece to see the cities with the lowest figures. (Madison, Wisconsin tops the list, with an unemployment rate of just 3.4 percent last November!) Now, let’s take a look at the cities that are having the most difficult time.

1. Yuma, Arizona.

As of November of 2014, the unemployment rate in Yuma, Arizona was 23.1 percent. The city has experienced an increase of 9.3 percentage points since the same time last year. Yuma has one of the lowest educational attainment rates nationally, and that fact combined with the metro area’s dreadful job market, leaves some pretty challenging circumstances for Yuma’s labor force, the size of which has remained steady for the last few years.

2. El Centro, California.

The unemployment rate was 22.7 percent in El Centro, California last November, making it the only other city where more than one in five citizens is unemployed. The high concentration of agricultural positions, isn’t meeting the needs of the local labor force, (although 8.7 percent are employed in the industry compared with just 2 percent nationally.) The housing crisis is particularly potent in El Centro. The area’s median home price has fallen more than 55 percent since its peak in 2007.

3. Ocean City, New Jersey and Visalia-Porterville, California.

The unemployment stats were tied in these two, very different, cities at 12.3 percent. The primary difference between these metro-areas was the poverty rate, just 9.4 percent in Ocean City and 30.1 percent in Visalia-Porterville. Also, given the difference in education data for these areas, it’s safe to assume that Ocean City’s recovery will come a bit easier than their west coast counterpart’s.

To learn more about the cities with the highest unemployment rates, check out the full article.

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How is the unemployment rate impacting the economy in your city? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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