Special Report Your Job

13 cities post unemployment above 15%

9 of the highest are in California. An additional 93 metro areas are at 10% or more.

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By Julianne Pepitone, CNNMoney.com contributing writer

Unlucky 13
In April 2009, 13 U.S. cities had unemployment rates above 15%.
1. El Centro, Calif. 26.9%
2. Yuma, Ariz. 20.3%
3. Merced, Calif. 18.3%
4. Yuba City, Calif. 18.2%
5. Elkhart, Ind. 17.8%
6. Modesto, Calif. 16.8%
7. Stockton, Calif. 15.6%
8. Bend, Ore. 15.6%
9. Fresno, Calif. 15.5%
10. Visalia, Calif. 15.4%
11. Redding, Calif. 15.4%
12. Hanford, Calif. 15.3%
13. Longview, Wash. 15.2%
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nationwide Unemployment - High
Top 5 cities with the highest unemployment rate in April 2009.
1. El Centro, Calif. 26.9%
2. Yuma, Ariz. 20.3%
3. Merced, Calif. 18.3%
4. Yuba City, Calif. 18.2%
5. Elkhart, Ind. 17.8%
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics
Nationwide Unemployment - Low
Top 5 cities with the lowest unemployment rate in April 2009.
1. Iowa City, Iowa 3.2%
2a. Ames, Iowa 3.6%
2b. Houma-Bayou, La. 3.6%
3. Bismarck, N.D. 3.7%
4. Manhattan, Kan. 3.8%
5. Logan, Utah 3.9%
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- There were 13 unlucky cities with unemployment rates topping 15% in April, and another 93 saw joblessness climb above 10%, according to a government report released Wednesday.

Nine of the baker's dozen are in California, a state ravaged by the housing meltdown and an unparalleled state budget crisis. Officials are now scrambling to close a $21.3 billion shortfall in order to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

By comparison, only seven cities reported unemployment rates above 10% in April 2008, the Labor Department said in its report.

April 2009 was the fourth consecutive month that unemployment rose in all of the nation's 372 metropolitan areas compared with the same month in the prior year, the report said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics releases monthly metropolitan-area data, lagging behind national unemployment statistics which this month showed the jobless rate was 8.9% in April. A new nationwide report for May comes out Friday.

The April report is slightly better than March's survey, which said that 109 metropolitan areas reached unemployment rates of 10% or higher, with 18 of those at 15% or more. The data is not seasonally adjusted, and that could account for some of the difference, the BLS said.

Jobless in Elkhart: 'collective consciousness'

Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., posted the biggest year-over-year increase in April -- 12.7 percentage points.

Residents are feeling the crunch of the 17.8% unemployment rate.

"It's on the news and in your ears here," said resident Alan Steele, business adviser at Indiana Small Business Development Center.

"It's part of the collective consciousness," he added. "I truly can't recall the last time I went through a workday without hearing about the job situation here."

Layoffs and closures in manufacturing have hit the city hard, Steele says. He said he sees many people interested in starting their own businesses, or ramping up time spent on side projects.

"Losing your job is not the best reason to start a business, which we tell them," he said. "But in some cases they're just trying to take control of the future."

Other hard-hit cities

El Centro, Calif., continued to have the highest rate of any metropolitan area at 26.9%. The town is located near the Mexican border and relies on agricultural employment, according to economists. As a result, the area's jobless rate tends to rise and fall depending on the farming season.

For areas with 1 million or more residents, Detroit was the worst hit, posting a rate of 13.6%. Portland, Ore., showed the largest increase, jumping to 11.6% from 4.7% in April 2008.

The least affected of the big cities was New Orleans, at 5.3%. At 3.2%, Iowa City, Iowa, reported the lowest overall rate in the country.

The number of metropolitan regions that had unemployment rates under 7% dropped sharply to 117 from 347 in April 2008. Only 31 areas reported unemployment rates below 5% in the current report.

A total of 33 metro areas registered unemployment rates that were at least 6 percentage points higher than a year ago, and another 44 areas' increases were 5 to 5.9 percentage points. To top of page

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