"If you've got the right skills that employers are looking for, it makes this process a lot easier," he said. "If construction workers in Las Vegas, Riverside, and Florida lost jobs, it doesn't mean they will get the jobs advertised."
Bronars said the cities included in the list lost a significant number of private sector jobs.
In the past year, the U.S. economy as a whole lost 7 percent of the jobs in the private sector, but cities like Riverside, Las Vegas and Sacramento lost about 15 percent of private sector jobs, he said.
Todd Sorensen, a professor of economics at the University of California, Riverside, said while the economy is "bad" in his neighborhood, it's not as dire as other areas of the state. The city of Merced in northern Calif. has an unemployment rate of 21.4 percent.
While he has noticed a growing number of closed businesses in downtown Riverside where he lives, he said there is less "despair than one would imagine."
The more educated workers are, the more flexible job opportunities they tend to have, "so unemployment can never be too high for too long in any one place."
But still, he said "living here does feel different than when I got here four years ago."
Sean Snaith is director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness in Orlando, Fla., a city ranked as eighth-worst place for job seekers.
He said the housing boom that took place in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida had "tremendous" impacts on the economy in the past decade that ultimate led to their doom.
"Real estate was white hot," he said. "Housing prices were rising phenomenally, but when the housing boom turned bust and financial crisis set upon us, those places where housing was really overbuilt and overextended had a much higher peak from which to fall."
Nevada, Arizona and California had the highest state foreclosure rates in April, according to RealtyTrac. Nevada had the country's highest foreclosure rate for the 52nd straight month, with one in every 97 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. In a report today, RealtyTrac said foreclosures accounted for 28 percent of all home sales nationwide in the first quarter of the year, up from 27 percent in the previous quarter.
Snaith said the traditional flow of retirees into Florida was "shut off completely" with the recession. Workers' retirement accounts shrank and people were not able to sell their houses at prices that they had hoped due to the housing and financial crisis. He said people began to move to Tennessee or South Carolina, where the cost of living was lower.
Detroit, also included in the list, had a significant population drop: 25 percent in the past decade to 713,777 according to Census Bureau data released in March.
"The fates of the labor market and housing market are intertwined – twisted together like pretzel," he said. "Getting people jobs will reduce number of foreclosures and will increase buyers. You do have to have an income to get a mortgage. Those two right now will feed off of one another."
But Snaith said things will start to turn around in Florida after housing prices stop to decline and foreclosures start to decrease, especially with added jobs from the hospitality and leisure sector.
"I suggest that 2012 is runway for Florida," Snaith said. "We don't take off until we get to the end of runway though we're picking up speed."