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Worst 10 Cities for Jobs

by Student Loan Daddy

If you’re still deciding where to relocate after college as you search for work, you may want to make sure you’ve got a job lined up before you move to one of these 10 cities, where unemployment is up, opportunities could be scarce, and job growth is on the decline.

From Forbes.com, here are the 10 U.S. cities with the slowest job growth, along with each city’s vitals: population, ratio of men to women, median age, median income, and what you can expect to pay (on average) for a one-bedroom apartment.

1. New Orleans, La.

Still rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city’s employment opportunities grew by just 20,000 jobs last year — 115,000 fewer than it added in 2004.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–3.8%
Metro-Area Population:1,093,000
Males / Females:46.9% / 53.1%
Median Age:33.1 years
Median Household Income:$30,711
Average 1BR Rent:$784

2. Detroit, Mich.

A shrinking job market is just one of the city’s growing problems, says Forbes.com. Detroit’s crime rates are the eighth highest in the country and its foreclosure rates are the highest.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–1.5%
Metro-Area Population:1,946,000
Males / Females:47.1% / 52.9%
Median Age:30.9 years
Median Household Income:$28,069
Average 1BR Rent:$625

3. Flint, Mich.

Unemployment rates reached 8.5 percent last year, the highest the city’s seen since 1984.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–1.4%
Metro-Area Population:441,000
Males / Females:47.0% / 53.0%
Median Age:30.8 years
Median Household Income:$25,972
Average 1BR Rent:$625

4. Canton, Ohio

The education levels in Canton — as well as in other cities on this list — haven’t kept up with the rest of the country. In Canton, Flint, Detroit, and Youngstown, Ohio (number nine), less than 18 percent of the adult population holds a college degree.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–1.1%
Metro-Area Population:410,000
Males / Females:46.7% / 53.3%
Median Age:34.4 years
Median Household Income:$27,460
Average 1BR Rent:$585

5. Warren, Mich.

Unemployment rates hit 6.8 percent last year, as Warren joined Detroit and New Orleans as the three metropolitan areas that have lost more than 50,000 jobs since 2002.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.9%
Metro-Area Population:2,510,000
Males / Females:48.9% / 51.1%
Median Age:37.9 years
Median Household Income:$44,855
Average 1BR Rent:$606

6. Hickory, N.C.

Out of the 200 largest metro areas in the United States, Hickory is only four spots out of last position in educational attainment, according to the Forbes.com “Best Places for Business and Careers” list of 2008. On the flip side, although job growth has been negative, Hickory could prove attractive to expanding companies and new ventures, with an average cost of doing business that’s the fourth lowest in the nation.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.8%
Metro-Area Population:363,000
Males / Females:48.1% / 51.9%
Median Age:34.6 years
Median Household Income:$36,100
Average 1BR Rent:$638

7. Lansing, Mich.

Along with other Michigan cities like Detroit and Flint, Lansing has been affected by the downslide of General Motors, one of the principal employers in the area. The state’s overall unemployment rate shot up to 8.3 percent in May, three points higher than the national average.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.8%
Metro-Area Population:455,000
Males / Females:48.0% / 52.0%
Median Age:31.4 years
Median Household Income:$34,367
Average 1BR Rent:$570

8. Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, like cities in Michigan, has been hurt by the financial struggles of the U.S. auto industry and of auto-parts supplier Delphi, in particular, one of the area’s largest employers. Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 and has been scrambling this year to find investors with the financial backing to help it emerge from Chapter 11.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.7%
Metro-Area Population:839,000
Males / Females:48.2% / 51.8%
Median Age:32.4 years
Median Household Income:$25,928
Average 1BR Rent:$577

9. Youngstown, Ohio

In March, the unemployment rate in Ohio was up 43 percent since January 2001, with Youngstown seeing its worst unemployment levels last year since 2000.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.6%
Metro-Area Population:586,000
Males / Females:47.9% / 52.1%
Median Age:36.4 years
Median Household Income:$26,516
Average 1BR Rent:$485

10. Ann Arbor, Mich.

The unemployment rate here jumped by 33 percent in the last year, from 4.5 percent last May to 6 percent two months ago. Ann Arbor has lost jobs in the auto industry, the service sector, and the post-secondary education sector, although the city is home to one of the most highly educated workforces in the nation, with 48 percent of the adult population holding a college degree — the third-highest rate in the country.

5-Year Annualized Job Growth:–0.4%
Metro-Area Population:348,000
Males / Females:49.4% / 50.6%
Median Age:28.1 years
Median Household Income:$45,798
Average 1BR Rent:$683

Sources: Demographic information from City-Data.com (male-to-female ratio and median age based on year 2000 figures, median household income figures are estimates for 2005). Average rent information from ApartmentRatings.com.

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