Among the largest U.S. counties, Elkhart County, Ind., located about 100 miles east of Chicago, posted the largest percentage decline from September 2008 to September 2009 (-14.5 percent). Two-thirds of the employment decline in Elkhart occurred in manufacturing, which lost 10,868 jobs over the year (-21.6 percent).

Large counties ranked by percent decline in employment, September 2008–09
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Trumbull, Ohio, had the next largest percentage decline (-11.0 percent), followed by the counties of Clark, Nev. (-10.6 percent), Catawba, N.C. (-10.4 percent), and Macomb, Mich. (-10.3 percent).

The percentage job decrease for the Nation as whole was 5.3 percent over the same period (September 2008 to September 2009).

The largest decline in employment levels occurred in Los Angeles, Calif. (-278,000), followed by the counties of Maricopa, Ariz. (-155,000), Cook, Ill. (-140,100), Orange, Calif. (-126,400), and New York, N.Y. (-125,100). Combined employment losses in these five counties over the year totaled 824,600 or 11.6 percent of the employment decline for the entire United States.

Employment declined in 329 of the 334 largest U.S. counties from September 2008 to September 2009.

The BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program produced this data, which is preliminary and subject to revision. Data presented here is for all workers covered by State and Federal unemployment insurance programs. The largest counties are those with employment levels of 75,000 or more. To learn more, see "County Employment and Wages: Third Quarter 2009" (PDF) (HTML), news release 10-0393.