US cities with highest unemployment rates in 2021

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The US labor market has made great strides in its recovery since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, the unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7%, its highest level since the Great Depression. But since the spring of 2020, the unemployment rate has fallen steadily and currently sits below 4%, just slightly higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%. While all sectors of the economy have been impacted by the pandemic and the shutdown at the start of 2020, some parts of the economy have rebounded faster than others.

For example, while the unemployment rate could reach pre-pandemic levels by this summer, the labor force participation rate continues to lag. In February 2020, the activity rate was 63.4%. After falling sharply in the early stages of the pandemic and then partially recovering, it still stands almost a full percentage point below the pre-pandemic level.

There are several reasons for the decline in labor market participation. Many older workers have decided to retire early during the pandemic and are unlikely to return. Nearly one million Americans, many of whom were in the labor force, have died from COVID, and millions more are suffering from long COVID and unable to work. Additionally, school and daycare closures have forced many parents out of their jobs due to caregiving responsibilities.

Besides the reduction in labor market participation, other aspects of the labor market still have room for improvement. Some industries, especially those that rely heavily on face-to-face interactions, remained hampered in 2021. The leisure and hospitality sector was the hardest hit of all; its annual unemployment rate fell from 5.2% in 2019 to 19.4% in 2020. By 2021, its annual unemployment rate had fallen to 10.1%, still nearly double its pre-Central rate. pandemic. Unemployment in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction has also been slow to recover, but this is expected to change with Russia’s oil ban. The average unemployment rate for the sector was above 11% in 2020 and 2021.

Geographically, states that rely heavily on tourism, recreation, and hospitality were more likely to have high unemployment rates in 2021. Additionally, states with more restrictive COVID policies also tended to have higher unemployment rates. workforce more affected. California, Nevada and New York had the highest unemployment rates in 2021, at 7.3%, 7.2% and 6.9% respectively. At the other end of the spectrum, states in the Midwest, Mountain West and South reported the lowest levels of unemployment. For example, in 2021, Utah and Nebraska had unemployment rates of just 2.7% and 2.5%.

To determine the US metropolitan areas with the highest overall unemployment rate in 2021, Filterbuy researchers analyzed data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The researchers ranked the metros by the average annual unemployment rate in 2021. The researchers also calculated the average number of unemployed in 2021, the change in the unemployment rate since 2020, and the change in the unemployment rate since 2019. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Here are the metros with the highest unemployment rates in 2021.

Major metros with the highest unemployment rate in 2021

Photo credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

15. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 5.9%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 37,975
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

Photo credit: The American Wanderer / Shutterstock

14. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 5.9%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 59,744
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.9
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

Photo credit: AevanStock / Shutterstock

13. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.1%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 71,379
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

Photo credit: Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

12. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.2%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 67,659
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.5
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.5

Photo credit: Concrete Jungle Media / Shutterstock

11. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.2%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 131,597
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -5.3
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.0

Photo Credit: Lucky Photographer/Shutterstock

10. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.3%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 96,330
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.0

Photo credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

9. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.3%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 192 279
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.2

Photo credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

8. Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.6%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 38,793
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -1.1
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.0

Photo credit: Tomas Simkus / Shutterstock

7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.6%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 226 911
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.0
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.8

Photo credit: Jonathan Siegel/Shutterstock

6. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.8%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 320 395
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.9

Photo credit: evenfh/Shutterstock

5. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.1%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 41,476
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.6
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.8

Photo credit: Matt Gush/Shutterstock

4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.2%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 150 179
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.5
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.1

Photo credit: William Perugini / Shutterstock

3. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.7%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 745,984
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.7
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.1

Photo credit: f11photo / Shutterstock

2. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 8.3%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 92,877
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -6.4
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.2

Photo credit: Eric Urquhart / Shutterstock

1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

  • Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 8.7%
  • Average number of unemployed in 2021: 576 693
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1
  • Evolution of the unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.5

Detailed results and methodology

To determine where the overall unemployment rate is highest in 2021, Filterbuy researchers analyzed data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local unemployment statistics. The researchers ranked locations based on the average annual unemployment rate in 2021. In the event of a tie, the location with the highest average number of unemployed in 2021 was ranked higher. The researchers also calculated the change in the unemployment rate since 2020 and the change in the unemployment rate since 2019. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 inhabitants were included. Additionally, metros were grouped into cohorts by population: small (100,000 to 349,999), medium (350,000 to 999,999), and large (1,000,000+).

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