Unemployment Rate Fell Over-the-Year in Most Metros
Unemployment rates in most cities across the U.S. generally improved over the year and the national jobless rate fell by one percentage point, according to a government report released on Friday.
From January 2011 through January 2012, the jobless rate fell in 345 out of the 372 metropolitan areas surveyed, while it increased in 16 areas and stayed the same in 11 areas, the Bureau of Labor Statistic said in its monthly report.
The national unemployment unemployment rate of 8.8% in January was down from 9.8% a year earlier. For January, there were 86 metro areas with an unemployment rate at or above 10%, down from 150 metros a year earlier. The number of metros with jobless rates substantially lower than the national average increased over the year; 83 areas had jobless rates lower than 7%, up from 47 areas the year before.
It appears the jobless rates are stabilizing and slowly moving in a positive direction across many metropolitan areas, but some cities, mostly out West, continue to struggle with unemployment. The highest jobless rates in the country were in El Centro, CA at 26.4% and Yuma, AZ at 24.5%. Ten of the other 11 areas with jobless rates of at least 15% were in California. Out of the 49 larger metros with a population of 1 million or more, the highest unemployment rate was in the Las Vegas, NV area at 13.1%, followed by the San Bernardino, CA area at 12.4%.
The lowest jobless rates in the nation were in Bismarck, ND and Lincoln, NE, each registering at 3.8%. Out of the big metros, the lowest rate was in the Washington, DC area at 5.7%, followed by the Minneapolis and Oklahoma City areas each at 5.9%.
The biggest improvements in the unemployment rate were in Decatur, AL, which saw its jobless rate fall 3.2 percentage points, and Monroe, MI with a rate drop of 2.8 percentage points. Twenty-five other metros had declines of 2 percentage points or more, and another 170 recorded a decrease between 1 and 1.9 percentage points.
U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics