Top 10 Cities with the Worst Economies for Families

by Sara Vigneri

Top 10 Cities with the Worst Economies for Families

Dismal housing markets, unemployment and stale economic growth have negatively affected these 10 cities making them the worst economies for families. Plus, see the cities with the best economies  and the best education

While many cities are enjoying economic recovery, the US Conference of Mayors says that others are not faring so well. In fact, they predict that these cities won’t see employment levels return to pre-recession rates until 2025.These 10 cities have not been able to rebound from the loss of jobs and tanking house prices when the recession hit a few years ago.

1. Fresno, California
The housing market in Fresno has not recovered from the recession; the city ranks seventh lowest on our list when it comes to housing values over five years. According to RealtyTrac, 1 in every 272 houses in Fresno were in foreclosure as of May 2012, compared to 1 in every 639 nationally. To top it off, they have double the national unemployment rate.

2. Detroit, Michigan
Sadly, Detroit has become the poster child for the economic downturn. With its economic woes, Detroit witnessed a historic exile of citizens, with a 25 percent decrease in population between 2000 and 2010. The harsh reality for Detroit is high unemployment, a housing market that tanked, and low prospects for economic stability in the near future. However, this downturn has inspired entrepreneurs and big thinkers to try out-of-the box methods to revitalize the city, so there is hope that Detroit won’t be on this list forever.

3. Toledo, Ohio
Once the “Glass Capital of the World,” Toledo rode a wave of industrial growth –and watched that wave crash, along with many other industry-based economies as manufacturing jobs went overseas. Jobs are slowly returning, with auto factories bringing assembly lines back to the city, but for now the outlook is dim for Toledo. It scored third to last on our Policom economic stability index ranking, and eighth to last on the Milken index for job growth.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada
With nearly 70 percent of Nevada mortgage holders owing more than their home is worth, Vegas is struggling to recover from one of the worst housing bubbles in the nation, giving the city the most dismal five-year housing market of all the cities we measured. Its unemployment rate is above the national average, and Vegas had the lowest score on our list for the Milken job growth index.

5. Providence, Rhode Island
When baseball player-turned-video game entrepreneur Curt Schilling announced the abrupt shuttering of his Providence-based company and laid off all of its workers, it shed light on the economic problems plaguing Rhode Island. In fact, Schilling later blamed the state for his company’s failure, stating they did not deliver on promised tax credits—an accusation that doesn’t bode well for luring new businesses and jobs into the city. The city has seen little movement in its stale housing market, while also suffering a steady unemployment rate above the national average.

6. Greensboro, North Carolina
Greensboro’s unemployment rate is nearly two percentage points higher than the national average. The Milken index also gives the city low scores for job growth moving forward. Greensboro also scored in the bottom third of our ranking on Policom’s index for economic strength and stability.

7. Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Times recently reported that while the state of California is seeing modest economic growth, the county of Los Angeles’s recovery is going to come at “a painfully slow pace.” Right now, the city is seeing a higher than average unemployment rate—the seventh lowest on our list – as well as low scores for economic stability and job growth.

8. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem’s struggling economy has seen hiring freezes and job eliminations, and now may also spell higher taxes for its residents in an effort to keep the city government above water.# The housing market is still recovering and the unemployment rate is above the national average. The city ranked 10th lowest on our list for Milken’s index for job prospects and growth, and 12th to last when it comes to economic stability.

9. Bakersfield, California
The city of Bakersfield scored the second lowest in both our unemployment and housing market rankings. Things looked bleak for Bakersfield when the construction industry came to a screeching halt during the recession, but with new construction jobs recently emerging, there is hope that Bakersfield can move its way out of the bottom 10 in the near future.

10. Cleveland, Ohio
While Cleveland managed to score a spot in 60th place for its home value index, the unemployment rate is barely scraping below the national average. The city scored the lowest on the Policom economic stability index, and it earned the sixth worst score on the Milkin index for job growth.