Top 16 Cities with Highest Unemployment Rate in the US [Report 2024]


2008 saw one of the greatest financial crises in US history. Energy price hikes produced a global economic crisis that affected the US severely.

This crisis drove US jobless rates up until 2009, when they reached 10%. From 2010 to 2019, unemployment dropped to 3.5 percent.

The different seasons official unemployment rate is calculated monthly since US unemployment is inconsistent. US unemployment is 5.4 percent, but certain cities have much higher rates.

Here is a list of the cities with highest unemployment rate in the US.

1. Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas is one of the cities with the highest unemployment rate in the US

Located in the state of Nevada, Las Vegas is renowned for its world-class entertainment and fancy gaming zones. The main drivers of Las Vegas’s economy are the gaming zones, tourism and entertainment facilities. But despite being one of the most well-known cities in the world, it has the highest unemployment rate in the US, which stands at 5.6%.

Las Vegas’s economy relies heavily on tourism with 20% percent of its total economic output coming from tourism. The travel restrictions imposed by the US government over the last one and a half years due to Covid-19 have massively hurt the economy of Las Vegas.

2. Chicago, IL

Known as “The Windy City”, Chicago is famed for its stunning architecture. Located in Illinois, it is the third most populous city in the US and is home to America’s greatest athlete, Michael Jordan. Chicago has the third-largest GMP and one of the most balanced economy in the United States.

Right now, the unemployment rate in Chicago stands at 4.4%, which is the fourth-highest unemployment rate among cities in the US. Chicago was named the fourth-most important business center in the world back in 2007.

3. Riverside, CA

Riverside is a city located in Riverside County, California. Riverside has 24 nationally registered historic sites and is the birthplace of California’s citrus industry. Its economy mainly depends on manufacturing products that include aircraft components, automobile parts, electronic products and medical devices.

The unemployment rate in Riverside is 4.2%, which is the second-highest rate of unemployment among cities in California.

4. Cleveland

Cleveland is a city located in the state of Ohio and is famous for its vibrant art, amazing music, beautiful parks and diverse culture. It is a city of sports fanatics with teams like the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers representing this city in the NFL and NBA respectively.

It is also the 4th-most unemployed city in the US with an unemployment rating of 4.2.

5. Memphis, TN

Memphis is located along the Mississippi River in the state of Tennessee. Known as “The Home of the Blues and Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, it is a very popular tourist destination for music lovers in the US. The name “Memphis” means established and beautiful, which perfectly describes this wonderful city.

But unfortunately, it is one of the cities with the highest unemployment rates in the US right now. At present, the unemployment rate in Memphis, Tennessee is 4.1%.

6. Los Angeles, CA

Known as “The City of Angels”, Los Angeles is one of the most luxurious cities in the world. Located in California, Los Angeles is primarily known for its amazing Mediterranean climate, cultural diversity, amazing beaches and Hollywood.

Even though Los Angeles is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world, it currently has the second-highest unemployment rate in the US. Currently, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles is 4.1%. The Los Angeles economy is mainly dependent on international trade, entertainment, fashion, tourism and technology.

7. Portland, OR

The main city in Oregon, Portland, is situated between the Columbia and Willamette rivers, beneath the snow-capped Mount Hood. It’s well renowned for its parks, bridges, and bike lanes as well as for being environmentally friendly, and for having microbreweries and coffee shops.

From the traditional Japanese Garden to the Oregon Zoo and its railroad, iconic Washington Park is home to a variety of attractions. The city has an unemployment rate of 4%.

8. Houston, TX

Have you ever heard the iconic line “Houston, we’ve got a problem” ? Well, that was a line from the 1995 movie “Apollo 13” from an astronaut regarding a situation in space.

But nowadays, when the residents of Houston, Texas think about their unemployment rates, that is exactly how they feel. Houston has the highest rate of unemployment in Texas, which stands at 4% right now.

9. Sacramento, CA

Sacramento is the capital city of the state of California. It is quite often referred to as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” because it is full of local farmers markets that are fully stocked. It is also known for its delicious foods and local shops. The unemployment rate in Sacramento stands at 3.7%, which is the fourth-highest in California.

10. New York, NY

Referred to as “The Big Apple”, New York is one of the most famous cities in the world. It is the crown jewel of the business world and is one of the most important corporate cities in the world.

New York is famed for its exclusive shops, iconic Broadway performances, New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street, Trump Tower and many other amazing things. It is the most populated city in the US, which is why the job market in New York is so competitive.

Due to this highly competitive nature of New York’s job market, New York has one of the highest unemployment rates in the US right now. As of right now, the unemployment rate in New York stands at 3.7%.

11. New Orleans, LA

The city of New Orleans is famous for its unique music, amazing cuisines, distinctive dialects and the renowned Mardi Gras festival. New Orleans is the most populous city in the state of Louisiana and is very well-document for its cultural and ethnic diversity.

Currently, New Orleans has the third-highest rate of unemployment in the US at 3.5%. New Orleans is home to one of the largest ports in the world and is one of the central figures of the US maritime industry.

12. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix is renowned for its luxurious spas, fancy golf resorts, distinct desert plants and amazing landscapes. Phoenix’s economy is centered around the “Five C’s”, cotton, climate, cattle, citrus and copper. It is the capital of Arizona and the fifth-most populous city in the US.

Phoenix is famed for its fine art, architecture, museums and Native American history. Despite being such an amazing city, Phoenix has one of the highest unemployment rates in the US. Right now, the unemployment rate in Phoenix stands at 3.5%, highest in Arizona.

13. Hartford, CN

The city of Hartford is the capital of the state of Connecticut and is known as the “Insurance Capital of the World”. Hartford is home to numerous insurance companies and insurance agencies are the city’s main economic driver. Currently, the unemployment rate in Hartford is at 3.5%.

14. Philadelphia, PA

Known as “The City of Brotherly Love”, Philadelphia is one of the most iconic cities in the US. It is famed for its unique culture, colonial history, the Liberty Bell, the “Rocky” Statue and the Independence Hall.

The nickname of Philadelphia is “Philly” and it is the sixth-most populous city in the US with an estimated population of over 1.5 million. Its economy is centered around tourism and big corporations, Philly has emerged as a hub for biotechnology as well. Currently, the unemployment rate in Philadelphia is 3.4%.

15. San Diego, CA

San Diego is often referred to as the “Birthplace of California” as it was the first city on the US west coast where Europeans settled. It is also known as “America’s Finest City” due to its stunning weather and amazing family-friendly beaches. It is the second-most populous city and has the third-highest rate of unemployment in California.

The unemployment rate in San Diego stands at 3.3% and its main economic output comes from international trade, MNC companies and tourism.

Check out the highest paying jobs in Arizona that you can apply for.

16. Denver, CO

Often referred to as “The Mile High City”, Denver is famous for its amazing outdoor attractions, including craft-breweries, cheerful music scenes, beautiful parks and mountains. Denver is the most populous city and the capital of Colorado. At present, the unemployment rate in Denver is 3.3%. Denver’s economy is mainly based on its geographical location and transportation systems and is one of the largest metro economies in the US.

The leading causes of unemployment in the US are structural unemployment and cyclical unemployment. These sorts of unemployment usually occur in the economy when there is a mismatch between what employers require and what workers offer or during the end of economic cycles.

Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Phoenix are some of the best cities to live in the US. Most of these rates rose very high during the start of the pandemic last year, and are now gradually going down.

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