31.9%: U.S.-Mexico Border City Leads Nation in Unemployment

December 9, 2013 - 5:20 PM
Arizona border

(Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) - The Yuma, Ariz., metropolitan area, which sits on the U.S-Mexico border, had a 31.9 percent unemployment rate in October, the highest of any metropolitan area in the country, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The El Centro, Calif., metropolitan area, also on the U.S.-Mexico border, had a unemployment rate of 22.8 percent, the second highest in the country.

The national unemployment rate in October stood at 7.3 percent, meaning the unemployment rate in the Yuma, Ariz., metropolitan area was more than four times higher than the national rate.

Top Ten Metro Areas for Unemployment

Six of the top ten metropolitan areas with the highest unemployment in the country are in California. In addition to El Centro, which is just north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the other five areas are situated in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys, in California’s agricultural district.

The ten metropolitan areas with the highest unemployment rates in the country in October were: 1) Yuma, Ariz., 31.9 percent; 2) El Centro, Calif., 22.8 percent; 3) Visalia-Porterville, Calif., 12.7 percent, 4) Yuba City, Calif., 12.4 percent; 5) Merced, Calif., 12.1 percent, 6) Fresno, Calif., 12 percent; 7) Hanford-Corcoran, Calif., 11.9 percent; 8) Decatur, Ill., 11.7 percent; 9) Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J., 11.7 percent; and 10) Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J., 11.6 percent.

Yuma is represented in the U.S. Congress by Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat. CNSNews.com contacted his office on Monday to see if he would like to comment about the high unemployment rate there, but was told he was travelling today from Arizona to Washington and was unavailable.

Bob Dane, the communications director for the Federation for Immigration Reform, cautioned that without a detailed analysis of multiple factors in the Yuma area it is not possible to perfectly correlate the high unemployment rate there with illegal immigration. However, he says city officials ought to take a close look at the problem.

“While high levels of immigration create undue competition for jobs nationally, reduces wages, and increases unemployment, that impact is staggered geographically and by job sector, so you can’t generalize and say immigration is the cause of unemployment in every city,” said Dane. “Detroit for example has longstanding union, pension, city management and global competitive issues--not immigration problems--that have contributed to their decline and high unemployment.

“Likewise, Yuma, AZ and El Centro, CA may--or may not --have individual, historical and complex characteristics that account for their staggering unemployment rates,” he said.

“Yes, they have lots of unemployment and yes lots of immigrants--both legal and illegal (based on border apprehensions in that sector)--but without adjusting for other factors and doing a detailed analysis of those towns, it can’t be perfectly correlated,” Dane said. “But given the meltdowns in those towns and their respective proximity to the border, city officials are overdue for a close and honest look into whether high immigration and high unemployment in Yuma and El Centro is coincidence or causality.

“What we do know for certain,” he said, “is that there are massive flows of illegal aliens, drug smugglers and human traffickers in that part of California and Arizona.”

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