For some regions of the US, talk of an economic recovery is more wishful thinking than reality. Here are the top 10 metropolitan areas that continue to struggle with unemployment, from the Carpet Capital of the World to the home of an Ivy League university.
Ninety-four of the 100 largest metros have recovered at least some of their jobs lost during the Great Recession, according to the Brookings Institution. Unfortunately, Augusta, Ga., and adjacent Richmond County, S.,C., is not one of them. The region’s reliance on health-care, Fort Gordon (an Army base), a nuclear plant, and a medical college for major employment helped cushion the blow of the recession and early recovery. Brookings listed it as one of the nation’s 20 highest-performing areas. But as the recovery progressed, Augusta didn’t. Last year, it made Brookings’ list of 20 poorest-performing metros. Unemployment is down only 0.1 percentage point. The area has lost 7,000 jobs in the past year, a 3.3 percent erosion of its employment base. The MSA recently had the dubious honor of making an MSNBC list of the Top 10 worst-paying cities for women.
What’s wrong? The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta recently suggested a few potential reasons: Uncertainty is tempering hiring, and a dearth of qualified applicants is slowing down the hiring process.