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How Are US Cities Coping With Unemployment At The End of 2020?

Updated : December 22nd, 2020

How are US cities coping with unemloyment

The end of 2020 is coming with mixed news. Americans can look forward to continued unemployment benefits and improved job availability as Congress is putting together a new aid package and the economy recovers slowly. But, are these changes reflecting evenly over all the metropolitan areas across the country? 

Almost all the US cities are doing much better than they were at the beginning of the shutdowns. Take a look at some of the numbers below:

215 metropolitan areas had unemployment rates below the US unemployment rate of 14.4% in April, while 172 areas were above this number. The unemployment rates of only 2 areas were equal to the average in the nation.

The highest unemployment rate in October 2020 was in the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina area of Hawaii at 22.5%, an improvement from April 2020 when it was 35%. The population here is not as high as Las Vegas, which had an unemployment rate of 33.5% in April; In October 2020, the unemployment rate had dropped to 13.8%.

Significant economic areas that had the highest April-May 2020 unemployment rates are Atlantic City-Henderson-Paradise, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, etc. Currently, the unemployment rates are highest in El Centro, Las Vegas, Kahului, Paradise, Odessa, and New Orleans- above 10%.

In April, the metropolitan area with the lowest unemployment rate was Logan at 6.2%. In October 2020, it was at 3%. The jobless rate in Washington-Arlington-Alexandria was 9.9% in April 2020, whereas it came down to 6% by October 2020.

The Chicago area has a well-diversified economy, plus the unemployment rate has dropped down to 7.2% from a high of 17.2% in April 2020. New York is currently at 9.7% from the June unemployment rate of 15.9%.

The Detroit metro area was at 24.4% unemployment in April, that improved to 6.3% in October 2020. 

The metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates include Logan, Jefferson City, Columbia, Ames, and Burlington. These areas have less than 3% joblessness.

The economy has been slowly reopening, and hence the unemployment rates in many populated regions have improved further by 1-2 percentage points in November and December.

Why Are Some Cities Doing Worse Than Others?

Some of the large US cities like New York and Seattle are wealthy and globally connected, but some experts opine that these cities aren’t recovering well. New York has the third-largest economy with a backbone in Wall Street and real estate, tourism, and performances, along with the hospitality industry. These are the sectors worst hit by the coronavirus impact.

New York’s mayor disagrees and thinks the reopening of schools and public health expenditure is posited to improve things. Vicki Been, New York’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development, pointed out that New York continues to have among the best-educated and skilled workforce in the country.

Meanwhile, other previously thriving cities, had economies organized around travel, tourism, and hospitality like Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Orlando will experience stagnation as long as restrictions remain in place. 

Chicago has imposed strict restrictions on high contact sectors like dining, retail, and entertainment. Since then, job postings have gone down except for the tech sector, where there is a 13 fold increase.

With Congress agreeing on the new $900 billion economic aid package, Americans can breathe in relief because this means more unemployment payments on the horizon. However, with reports of a resurgence of the COVID with a new coronavirus strain and resultant lockdowns, things look uncertain. There is hope that the new vaccine will work.

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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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