Maria Arvizu continues to fill out job applications even though she has yet to deposit her last paycheck.
Arvizu, 53, relocated to Yuma, Ariz., to become a bus driver for the local school district last year. After school closed for summer break, she was caught off guard when she was laid off. She had expected to get another driving assignment and was denied collecting unemployment because she was still considered a school employee.
"I just keep looking for a job," Arvizu says.
Yuma — a town of about 93,000 along the Mexican border — has the country's highest jobless rate, at 28.9 percent — more than three times the national rate of 8.2 percent. Meanwhile, Bismarck, N.D., has the lowest rate in the U.S., at just 2.5 percent. The disparity shows how local economies differ, and how that diversity affects their jobless rates.