Forbes recently released its list of America’s Best Cheap Cities. These are U.S. cities where cost of living is low, but perks like salaries for college graduates and the number of cultural attractions are high. Surprisingly, something else was high on this list too: the unemployment rate of many of those cities.
While I am thankful for Louisville’s low cost of living, and am willing to admit that other cities’ higher cost of living has deterred me from moving for several years now, I’m having trouble understanding how any city with an unemployment rate higher than the national average could make this list. And yet …
(Number in parenthesis is Forbes’ rank out of 100. Percentage is unemployment rate as of May 2009, when the national rate hit 9.1%. Latest available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
(11) Warren-Troy-Farmington – 14.9% (Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI is the MSA in the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s)
(15) Cleveland, Elryia, Mentor, OH – 10.0%
(17) Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC – 12.0%
(18) Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA – 9.6%
(19) Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI – 14.9% (Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn isn’t ranked in Bureau of Labor Statistics)
(23) Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN – 9.4%
(25) Akron, OH – 9.8%
(31) Chattanooga, TN-GA – 9.3%
(37) Winston-Salem, NC – 10.5%
(39) Rockford, IL – 13.4%
(40) Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN – 10.2%
(43) Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC – 10.3%
(47) Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI – 11.7%
(49) Dayton, OH – 11.2%
And that’s just within the top 50 cities on the list.
Someone should let Forbes know: when you have no income, or it’s been reduced by half or more, no city is cheap enough to be living life laid off.