While the national jobless rate is 3.6%, near an all-time low, some parts of the nation continue to suffer from high unemployment. At the top of this list is Yuma, Arizona. Its April figure was 13.1%, higher than the national rate of 10% at the depths of the Great Recession.
Yuma is a reminder that the job situation in the United States is uneven, and that a problem in one city could grow to others if the economy becomes troubled. California’s interior has places where unemployment is above 6%. In El Centro, the figure is 11.7%. Other clusters of high jobless rates include places around Detroit, all of Nevada, much of southern New Jersey and most of New Mexico. Specific economic problems, often in just one industry, are the cause in most, if not all, of these cases.
Layoffs already have begun in some industries. These have not swollen into geographic problems, but, if past recessions are any sign, they the will.
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On a positive note, the unemployment rate in several cities is below 2%. The rate is 1.3% in Minnesota’s Mankato and Rochester. Notably, these cities are in a part of the country where unemployment rates are always considerably better than in the nation as a whole.
If a recession comes, and one will, watch whether areas with high unemployment get worse. More importantly, watch the healthy regions of the country. If the job situation there worsens, the trouble is likely national.
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