More

    15 Cities With the Highest Unemployment Rates in 2021

    fizkes / Shutterstock.com

    Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Filterbuy.

    The U.S. job 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%, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

    But since the spring of 2020, the unemployment rate has fallen steadily and currently stands below 4%, just slightly higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%. While all sectors of the economy were impacted by the pandemic and shutdowns in early 2020, some parts of the economy have bounced back more quickly than others.

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

    There are several reasons for reduced labor force participation. Many older workers decided to retire early during the pandemic and are unlikely to return. Nearly 1 million Americans, many of whom were part of the workforce, have died from COVID-19, and millions more are suffering from what has come to be known as long COVID and are unable to work. Additionally, school and daycare closures have forced many parents to leave their jobs due to caregiving responsibilities.

    Besides reduced labor force participation, some industries, particularly ones that are highly reliant on face-to-face interactions, remained hindered in 2021.

    To determine the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest overall unemployment rates in 2021, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The researchers ranked metros according to the average annual unemployment rate in 2021. You can read more about our methodology at the end.

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

    15. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

    Memphis Tennessee
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 5.9%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 37,975

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

    14. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 5.9%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 59,744

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.9

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

    13. Pittsburgh, PA

    mandritoiu / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.1%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 71,379

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +1.7

    12. Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA

    Sacramento, California
    Ed Gavryush / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.2%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 67,659

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.5

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.5

    11. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

    Aerial view of downtown Detroit
    Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.2%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 131,597

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -5.3

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.0

    10. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA

    The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
    Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.3%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 96,330

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.0

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

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
    f11photo / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.3%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 192,279

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.9

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.2

    8. Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT

    The skyline of Hartford Connecticut, where median rents are relatively low
    Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.6%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 38,793

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -1.1

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.0

    7. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX

    Houston, Texas skyline
    Silvio Ligutti / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.6%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 226,911

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.0

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.8

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

    DuSable bridge at twilight, Chicago.
    Oleg Podzorov / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 6.8%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 320,395

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.9

    5. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

    New Orleans, Louisiana at night
    f11 photography / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.1%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 41,476

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.6

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +2.8

    4. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

    Riverside California neighborhood
    Matt Gush / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.2%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 150,179

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.5

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +3.1

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

    New York City coastline
    IM_photo / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 7.7%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 745,984

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -2.7

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.1

    2. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

    Las Vegas by night, with mountains
    egd / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 8.3%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 92,877

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -6.4

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.2

    1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

    Los Angeles smoky skyline
    J Dennis / Shutterstock.com

    Average annual unemployment rate in 2021: 8.7%

    Average number of unemployed workers in 2021: 576,693

    Change in unemployment rate since 2020 (percentage points): -3.1

    Change in unemployment rate since 2019 (percentage points): +4.5

    Methodology

    Man using too much data on his phone, tablet and laptop
    Bacho / Shutterstock.com

    To determine the locations with the highest overall unemployment rate in 2021, researchers at Filterbuy analyzed the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics. The researchers ranked locations according to the average annual unemployment rate in 2021. In the event of a tie, the location with the larger average number of unemployed workers in 2021 was ranked higher.

    Researchers also calculated the change in unemployment rate since 2020, and the change in unemployment rate since 2019. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.

    Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

    Be a part of our family
    Loading

    Latest articles

    Related articles