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Almost Half of Metros Report Lower Unemployment from a Year Ago

The unemployment rate in August was lower than it was a year ago for 182 out of 372 metropolitan areas tracked by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency reported on Wednesday.

The BLS also said that the unemployment rate was higher than it was a year ago in 169 areas and stayed the same in 21 metros.

For August, 124 metropolitan areas had jobless rates of at least 10%, eight fewer than there was a year ago. But there was a decrease in the number of areas registering an unemployment rate under 7% for August - 62 metropolitan areas, down from 68 areas in August of 2009.

Jobless rates of 15% or higher were reported in twelve metros, nine of those are located in California. El Centro, CA has the highest unemployment rate of all metropolitan areas at 30.4%, followed closely by Yuma, AZ at 30.2%. BLS reported that these two adjacent areas are highly agricultural and experience extreme heat during the summer, contributing to the severely high jobless rate.

Bismark, ND reported the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.1%, followed by Fargo, ND and Minneapolis, MN. Nine metropolitan areas had very low unemployment rates of less than 5% - seven of these areas were located in the West North Central Division (the western half of the Midwest).

Overall, 231 areas recorded unemployment rates below the U.S. figure of 9.5%, 139 areas reported rates above it, and 2 areas had rates equal to that of the nation.

The BLS also said in a seperate report that for August, 26 States and the District of Columbia posted unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 21 States reported increases, and 3 had no change.

Eight states had statistically significant decreases in the jobless rate from August of 2009; the largest decrease of 1.4% was in Alabama, followed by a 1.3% drop in Tennessee, and a decrease of 1.2% in North Carolina.

Montana and Florida recorded the only significant rate increases from August 2009, gaining 1.0 and 0.7 percentage point, respectively.

The remaining 40 States and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rates that were not appreciably different from those of a year earlier.

The only significant change in the unemployment rate among regions was in the Midwest, which posted a decrease of 0.6% for August.

Nevada continues to have highest unemployment of all states in August, breaking another record at 14.4%, followed by Michigan at 13.1%, and California at 12.4%.

North Dakota again registered the lowest the joless rate in August at 3.7%, followed by South Dakota at 4.5% and Nebraska at 4.6%.
Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Wednesday, 15 July 2020

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