Census: With jobs scarce, Rust Belt cities decline

WASHINGTON – Hurt by the still-sluggish economy, Rust Belt cities and other U.S. manufacturing regions are suffering the biggest population losses as people move elsewhere in search of jobs.

New census estimates for 2009 highlight the continuing effects of the recession.

The figures show Cleveland had the largest numerical decline in residents, dropping 2,658, or nearly 1 percent. It was followed by Detroit and Flint, Mich., which lost 1,713 and 1,382 people, respectively.

Other losers include Cape Coral and St. Petersburg, both in Florida, which are retirement destinations on the Gulf Coast. Their populations decreased as more older Americans stayed put in California, Texas and the Northeast, where most jobs are located.