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Cities Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most – Updated WalletHub Study

The economy lost 140,000 jobs in December, but the national unemployment rate remained at 6.7%, which is 54% below the peak of 14.7% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide more context at the city level, WalletHub today released its report on the Cities Whose Unemployment Rates Are Bouncing Back Most, as a follow-up to our report on the States Whose Weekly Unemployment Claims Are Recovering the Quickest, along with accompanying videos and audio files.

This report uses new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which disclosed that it erroneously didn’t count some workers on temporary layoffs as unemployed. Therefore, the real unemployment rate may be around 9% higher than reported, and our report includes both the official rate and an “adjusted” rate based on this error.

Below, you can see highlights from the report, along with a WalletHub Q&A.

Most Recovered Cities
1. Sioux Falls, SD 11. Cheyenne, WY
2. Rapid City, SD 12. Huntsville, AL
3. Lincoln, NE 13. Bismarck, ND
4. Overland Park, KS 14. Billings, MT
5. Omaha, NE 15. Wichita, KS
6. Juneau, AK 16. Missoula, MT
7. Fort Smith, AR 17. Fargo, ND
8. Des Moines, IA 18. Burlington, VT
9. South Burlington, VT 19. West Valley City, UT
10. Cedar Rapids, IA 20. Anchorage, AK

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/cities-unemployment-rates/73647/

WalletHub Q&A

How might the emergence of other strains of COVID-19 impact unemployment?

“Depending on how infectious the new strains of COVID-19 are and how well we’re able to prevent exposure to them, we could see higher infection rates in some places. That could hurt the employment market by making it harder for those places to fully reopen,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Luckily, so far the currently developed vaccines and drugs used against COVID-19 have proven to be just as effective against the new strains, according to the WHO. If we focus on vaccinating as many people as possible, we will eventually get all of these strains under control and be able to fully reopen, which will do wonders for the employment market.”

Should cities have more restrictions than states if they see cases rising locally, even if it hurts employment?

“Public health should take precedence, so cities can choose to have more restrictions than states if there is a local spike in COVID-19 cases,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s important to keep in mind that local lockdowns are only effective under certain conditions. Unless the flow of people to and from highly-affected areas gets restricted, the virus will spread wherever infected people travel.”

Los Angeles has experienced the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. How has Los Angeles’ unemployment rate been affected?

“Los Angeles has experienced a 122% increase in unemployment from January 2020 to December,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “This is worse than the average increase of 82%. Los Angeles’ overall unemployment rate is 10.6%, compared to the average of 6.7%.”