Riverside in southern California is one of many US cities that experienced a real estate boom in the past decade. It was the housing boom and bust that is now causing deep misery for jobseekers.
"Many of these cities were experienced big construction booms, so when housing boom disappeared so did the jobs," Mindy Marks, a professor of labor economics at the University of California, Riverside, said.
The unemployment rate in Riverside was 13.9 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The recession hit those with less education the hardest and Riverside is one of the least-educated metropolitan areas in the country, said Marks, who has been a resident there for seven years.
The national unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma and over 25 years of age was 14.6 percent in April, seasonally adjusted. That figure is noticeably higher than the unemployment rate for those of the same age but with a high school degree, 9.7 percent, and those with a college degree, 4.5 percent.
What also affected Riverside is its industrial presence. Marks described Riverside as a "transportation hub" that was negatively affected by the recession.
"People want less and there is less demand for merchandise," she said. "A lot of these warehouse workers and forklift operators get laid off when the economy goes down."
As students prepare to graduate next month, Marks said that her seniors may feel "more discouraged" about the economy than graduates from last year because the state's budget crisis significantly affected public university tuition costs. In November 2009, the University of California's Board of Regents voted to increase tuition by 32 percent beginning in the fall of 2010. Still more tuition hikes are under consideration.
"Their families feel less well off because they had to come up with more tuition dollars," she said.
Last November, the board approved another tuition increase of 8 percent that will begin this fall.
But she said she was still surprised that U.S News & World Report called metropolitan Riverside the worst city for job seekers in the country. The list was compiled from the 50 largest metropolitan areas by population with unemployment rate and job postings on career site Indeed.com from March 2011 as factors. The first figure is the jobless rate; the second shows the number of people per job opening.
1. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 13.9; 3.75
2. Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. 13.3; 3.38
3. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. 12.7; 3.1
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. (tie) 11.4; 3.55
4. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. (tie) 10.9; 4.37
6. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. 11.8; 2.99
7. Providence-Fall River-Warwick, R.I.-Mass. 11.9; 2.25
8. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. 10.4; 2.42
9. Jacksonville, Fla. 10.2; 2.58
10. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 11.0; 2.18
Marks said schools are still functioning and she has not noticed an overt increase in street homelessness.
"We were growing so quickly before the downturn, and the city is well managed so it still has money to build recreation centers and parks," she said. "You see development but it's mostly from local government and not as much from the private sector."
Stephen Bronars, senior economist with Welch Consulting, said depending on your skill set, the job hunt could be a lot better or worse.