The 10 Worst Cities for Jobs and Business Show Hope of Recovery

San Jose, California

Circle Of Palms Plaza
Circle Of Palms Plaza | Source

The 10 Worst Metro Areas for Jobs in the USA; 2009 - 2012

Some of these cities are no longer "The Worst."

These large cities all have only unaffordable housing to offer new employees, an unhealthy dependence on a single industry, and frequently, a poor quality of life for the middle class population. That class is finding that it is descending into the wage-worker class and even into poverty levels. [Lead reference list at Inc.com]

Experts in the 1950s - early 1960s once advised Americans to spend only 25% of their gross income (before taxes and deductions) on Rent and Utilities Combined! The next level of advice proposed that Americans should spend 25% of gross income on rent alone. Then it was 34% of gross income on rent by the 1990s. However, many Americans find that only 34% - 50% of their gross income will provide clean, sturdy housing in a lower crime neighborhood. The middle class in the following list of cities is overburdened by these high costs and are moving to lower-quality housing or out of town.

Business people rely on the middle class to spend money in order to increase business growth and success. However, the middle class is shrinking and suffering form a decline in their standard of living in these 10 American cities. The middle class is actually slipping into the low-income segment of the American population.

San Jose, California

Motto: The Fun Never Stops.

The decline of California's Silicon Valley has been caused by a general unhealthy attitude of hubris, very bad business timing, increasingly high costs of doing business, and concentration only in high-tech industries, without business diversification. San Jose still possesses a skilled and talented workforce, and an infrastructure suitable for high-tech entrepreneurs. However, any thoughts of diversifying the economy need to manifest and come to fruition very soon in order for the San Jose economy to recover. Set in Silicon Valley, the city's economic and population growth led to the highest housing-costs increase in America: 936% between 1976 and 2001 (reference: "San Jose case study, part one: the urban-growth boundary". Thoreau Institute).

January 2013: Over 82,000 jobs are open in San Jose, largely in IT positions, Trucking, Healthcare and Engineering - and jobs have been increasing since the end of 2011!

Entering Grand Rapids, MI (public domain)
Entering Grand Rapids, MI (public domain)

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina

- In an astounding bout of recovery in the 2010s, Greenville SC became the Number One Micro City in the USA.

Proposed Boost to Dayton, Ohio Economy

Victoria Theater, Dayton Ohio
Victoria Theater, Dayton Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Good News: In the 2010s, Dayton has become a vital part of the Ohio Space Corridor extending from Fairborn to Cincinnati with the development and manufacture of new products and services.

Dayton, Ohio is where the Wright Brothers owned and operated their famous bicycle shop before inventing and building the airplane that flew at Kitty Hawk. Rubber was a big industry in Dayton for years, just as was the cash register business (National Cash Register or NCR). Ponderosa Steak Houses had their large HQ in Dayton with restaurants across the world. Ponderosa even reserved and paid for he space for the first restaurant on the old MIR space station. However, the chain declined before such an endeavor could ever come to life. All of these successful businesses decline in the face of IT and other hi-tech industries. Currently, Dayton has a large urban area steeped in poverty and crime (as does the smaller, nearby Springfield). Wright State University is still very active in bioengineering and other work, however, while nearby Wright Patterson Air Force Base has suffered some setbacks. Green industries and jobs could be the salvation of this city. Recently, the Dayton City Commission announced one of the largest redevelopment efforts ever undertaken in the Ohio Valley - a $230 million project to create a mixture of housing, retail, commercial and entertainment venues along Dayton's downtown waterfront. The project is called Ballpark Village. At the same time, WPAFB Air Force Museum is adding another entire building to its already large installation.

June 15, 2011: Dayton closer to getting racetrack and video slots (Dayton Daily News) - In summary, Ohio's Governor John Kasich decided to permit video slot machines at Ohio’s horse tracks and this enhances Dayton Ohio’s chances of receiving a $200,000,000 horse racetrack. This is believed to be a great chance to boost the Dayton economy, in addition to the plans for increasing jobs and business - including tourism - in this part of the Ohio Space Corridor. In fact, long time track on Columbus OH, Beaulah Park on the far south side, would like to move to Dayton at a site near busy highway I-75.

January 2013: The Ohio Space Corridor from Cincinnati through Dayton-Fairborn and Columbus; and the historic Ohio Aviation Trail of installations have boosted Dayton's economy even further.

Rochester, N.Y.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

New York City; San Francisco, California; and Boston, Massachusetts

Focusing only on Dot-Com success, NYC, SF, and Boston metros failed keep costs down. High-tech and financial services were to ensure long-term business growth.

Jobs in these industries declined, very much so after 2000 in the Recession that occurred in last year of the Clinton and on into the transition to the George W. Bush Administration. New York City, with its immigrant s and growing immigration, and successful ethnic and culture-based industries is alive, but new growth is toward the suburbs, especially Long Island and America's Richest Places.

Portland, Oregon

The suburb of Hillsboro in the west of Portland has been names one of the Top 100 Places to Live in America.

Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina - TURNAROUND for a "Worst City"

Raleigh-Durham's obsessive concentration on IT and technological industries has been seen as an unhealthy lack of diversity.But this has led to high rates of business growth --

UPDATE 2009, 2010, 2011 - The Research Triangle near Raleigh has been producing increasing numbers of well-paying jobs and drawing new business into the region. See our links at RESEARCH TRIANGLE REVIEW.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hartford, Connecticut

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Comments 28 comments

ondo1015 profile image

ondo1015 8 years ago

I only read About silicon valley and it's quite intersting to know the situation of a progressive city. Well for me every success has it's own downful, We are not perfect to have a peaceful commumity.

I like to know that even Switzerland , in my knowledgeb has it's problem in spite of very close security and discipline to it's own people.

At least a city is successful and it helps a lot of people. Only a small percentage of it are in vain.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I have been often to Dayton Ohio and Grand Rapids Michigan and have witnessed the decline of some of the middle class population into even poverty susbistence living.

Springfield Ohio close to Dayton is even sadder in its decline. The Upper Valley Mall, the major shopping hub, has been about half empty of rented store spaces for some time and it was booming in the early half of the 1980s. The stores across the street in a strip mall have largely gone out of business. Hills Department Store (like a Meijer's) closed down half the store and then entirely. Next, a lovely 24-hour grocery (chain) with its own nice restarant closed down entirely.

So, it's not just these 10 cities, but many across America that are suffering econoically and the middle class dipping to poverty levels.


Bonnie Ramsey profile image

Bonnie Ramsey 8 years ago from United States

I certainly agree, Patty. That is what lead to us moving to north Mississippi. We wer originally in central MS. The average net income (if you are fortunate enough to be able to even get a job above minimum wage) is around $250-275 per week. Now, consider the fact that the average rent in a decent area will run you $400 and up, utilities average around $350 per month. Now, am I the only one here that has a problem with this math? This is not to mention any other necessities, just rent and utilities! That would be even worse for those with minimum wage jobs! Great hub, BTW!

Bonnie


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Hi Bonnie - I did not realize Central MS was in such bad employment shape. I'll read up on it! Thanks for posting and letting us know. First-hand information is good to have.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Note to confused job seekers:  There are two Raleigh Metroplexes used in workforce calculations by various entities--

1) Raleigh-Durham is  in the Top 10 WORST.

2) Raleigh-Cary  is #1 in another list of the Top 25 BEST cities; while ATLANTA is still #1 in other lists from top business organizations.


nancydodds1 profile image

nancydodds1 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Its very nice hub. I had gone through your hub its very interesting good informative hub.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for reading my Hubs on workplace topics. I've written one for east US State and am reviewing major metropolitan areas at this time.


John 7 years ago

As far as bad employment centers go, you should consider doing some research on Louisville, Kentucky because the situation here is that current unemployment is 15th worst among metro areas in the USA as was posted on CNN website in a recent article.

What is going on here is the loss of tax paying industries such as manufacturing and the bringing about of a service economy mostly in retail, health, etc. No real economy and jobs paying in many cases under basic living expenses. Rents of 450 to 600 for an apartment is great but when a lot of your people take home only about 1400 a month its not that great.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

John - Thank you for your report and I will certainly do the research and make a full presentation on the circumstances. I am so sorry that the economy is hurgin so badly in Louisville, a beautiful place that I always remember for my driving through it.

USA may become like WWII Russia where 5 families lived in a two-room apartment.


itzkurtinz 7 years ago

I am currently living in Dayton, OH. Before I left for the Air Force there were still industrial type jobs like General Motors, Goodyear, and a few others. I did notice an increase in crime though back then in 1996. Here it is 12 years later and I cant find a job for the life of me.

Life in Arizona doesn't seem so bad now that Im a full time student without a job. I recently graduated from ITT Tech and have an Associates in Applied Science. On top of that I have 10 years of expertise in Logistics/Supply Management. If our economy doesn't pick up my plan is to relocate.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

I've done some resumes recently for individuals wanting to relocate and work in logistics after serving in the military and I see that a few states have an increase in these jobs. Will look again and see.

Here is my link for some of them:

http://hubpages.com/search/author/Patty+Inglish%2C...

Good success to you and congratulations on your graduation!


David Stowell 7 years ago

Thanks for some truthfulness about Portland Oregon. The greenest little, MEANEST little

city in America. My wife and I slaved there for 8 years and built a successful business,

only to see it destroyed by criminals and an inattentive, careless city administration

and massive fees for every describable business activity. DO NOT try to start a small

business in Portland. It is a recipe for disaster. A year ago today I was beaten severely

on the street just outside my business and the criminal who attacked me GOT AWAY

WITH IT thanks to the shoddy courts and police. High crime, no support.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for that eye-opening testimony. First hand accounts are always useful, and we're sorry for your bad experiences.


Rochester NY DeeJay 7 years ago

It seems sad that Rochester is included in this list. There is such a good foundation of small to mid sized tech companies, and a wealth of talent from the old Kodak and Xerox workforces.


glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

So true about San Jose! It's so hard to find jobs, what with so much competition and such


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Thanks, glassvisage; I'll keep my eye on this list and post any changes in job openings and new companies in these cities.


Jimmy Spitz 7 years ago

I am quite shocked the Lawrence, Kansas did not make the list. They are one of the most anti-business cities in the United States. They use Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado as their example.

In all the years I have done site selecting for a Fortune 500 company, Lawrence ranks as my top worst cities to conduct business.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Jimmy, thanks very much for your insights. I urge readers to research Lawrence KS well before making a residential or business move in that direction and I will have a look myself.

Any other tips of this sort from readers and Hubbers are welcomed, too! We may have many more cities to add to this list and some of these cities may come off the list in future.

Thanks!


SCBOY 6 years ago

dayton ohio is a joke.. that is one 33 days i will never have the privlege of getting back.... I went to train with ncr several times after that first shit hold endevor but not there. thank god


chad 6 years ago

grand rapids is a horrible city.. the worse i have ever lived in. i lived there for 9 years and moved to New York..

MUCH MUCH BETTER!

stay out of michigan.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

SCBOY - Springfield is even worse I think - lots of abandoned houses from downtown on out and the Upper Valley Mall is losing stores. Across the street, many department stores closed down.

chad - Thanks for the comments. Lots of people feel pretty bad about Michgian.

Merry Christmas!


Neil Ashworth profile image

Neil Ashworth 6 years ago from Ireland

Excellent !!! Love it..


Chris 6 years ago

Cleveland is horrible, no jobs in the city and revenue crisis. Someone had a brainstorm idea back in the 80's to implement desegregation and bussing was invented. Basically they bussed the black population to the predominantly white west side and the whites east. This caused white flight and now the entire city is predominantly black and in poverty. Add the recession and you have a dead city, pretty sad.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for the comments!


clintonb profile image

clintonb 5 years ago from Adelaide, Australia

Yeah its sad that there is so much trouble all around! Hope it gets solved soon!! Good hub!!


Md. Kamruzzman Bhuiyan (Mahruf) 4 years ago

Cleveland is horrible, no jobs in the city and revenue crisis. Someone had a brainstorm idea back in the 80's to implement desegregation and bussing was invented. Basically they bussed the black population to the predominantly white west side and the whites east. This caused white flight and now the entire city is predominantly black and in poverty.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I've many friends in Cleveland of all colors that are doing well - What you describe was 30 years ago and today cannot be used for any type of excuse. On December 5, 2011, there are listed on the Internet alone 42,842 open jobs within 25 miles of Cleveland city center. The largest numbers of jobs are in HIGH PAID healthcare professions that require at least a college degree and licensing. Next come the Truck Driving and IT jobs and Diesel Mechanics openings available. Then come Customer Service and Sales jobs.

However, I doubt that anyone will go to one's dwelling and hand one a job. Earning a job requires much time and effort. Best success to you!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

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