It may be time to move if you live in one of these cities. Although the unemployment numbers are improving, there are some places where it is extremely difficult to get a job.
According to the latest data, the number of Americans requesting unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low of 330,000, reports financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall St. The site reviewed the 10 metro areas with the highest unemployment rates in the country by using the latest figures available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Natural disaster played a part in the loss of jobs in two of the cities on the list — Atlantic City and Ocean City, New Jersey — both of which were in the path of Superstorm Sandy. “Unemployment skyrocketed in November in both cities. In Ocean City, the jobless rate jumped from 11.8% in October to 14.5% in November,” writes the website.
Southern and central California, and southern Arizona are other areas that had high unemployment rates. “These areas, unlike the New Jersey cities, have low income populations and extremely high poverty rates. In El Centro, California, which had the second-highest unemployment rate in the country of 27.5% in November, more than one quarter of the population is living below the poverty line,” found 24/7 Wall St.
When determining the 10 metropolitan statistical areas with the highest unemployment rates, 24/7 Wall St. also included U.S. Census Bureau data for poverty, income, high school and college attainment levels, and employment by sector, all from 2011.
Here are the top 5:
1. Yuma, Ariz.
12-month unemployment change: 1.2 percentage points
Percentage of population living below poverty line: 21.8%
More than 10 percent of the metro Yuma labor force works in agriculture, which are mostly seasonal jobs. 24/7 Wall St. found that the median household income was also quite low at $38,390 — more than $12,000 below the national median.
2. El Centro, Calif. (Alexis)
12-month unemployment change: -2.3 percentage points
Percentage below poverty line: 26.8%
Things haven’t gotten much better the El Centro. “In November 2011, El Centro had an unemployment rate of 28.9%, then the highest of any metropolitan area in the U.S. Twelve months later, El Centro’s unemployment rate was still the nation’s second-highest, at 26.6%,” writes 24/7 Wall St. Like Yuma, most of he jobs in this city are seasonal.
3. Yuba City, Calif.
12-month unemployment change: -0.8 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 16.3%
Like the top two cities, Yuba City’s economy is very dependent on agriculture. But things seem to be improving here because of an increase in construction work. Employment in this area actually rose 24 percent between August 2011 and August 2012, more than all metro areas in the country, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
4. Merced, Calif.
12-month unemployment change: -0.7 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 27.4%
Despite the high unemployment number, the rate had fallen by 0.7 percentage points over the twelve months ending in November. Seasonal agricultural work along with a lack of formal education are big problems here. “As of 2011, just 65.2% of the area’s residents had at least a high school diploma versus 85.9% for the U.S. as a whole,” says 24/7 Wall St.
5. Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J.
Unemployment: 14.5% (tied-5th lowest)
12-month unemployment change: 2.2 percentage points
Pct. below poverty line: 13.4%
Things could turn around a bit as construction work increases as they start to rebuild the city. Unfortunately, according to 24/7 Wall St., many of the construction workers will come in from out of the state.