Infrastructure

Unemployment Down in Most Metro Areas

Columbus, Ind. saw its employment rate grow by more than 9 percent. Credit: Erica Minton on Flickr

Mirroring the country as a whole, most U.S. metropolitan areas have seen unemployment rates drop since last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In total, 325 of the 372 metros measured by BLS registered lower jobless rates this past August than in August 2011, while 40 areas suffered higher unemployment and seven stayed the same.

Among the country’s largest metro areas, Oklahoma City has fared the best, with a jobless rate of 4.6 percent. Of 49 metros with populations of more than 1 million people, 43 reported a drop in unemployment, with Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. enjoying the largest decline — 2.2 percent. On the flip side, five reported increases in joblessness, though only Buffalo, N.Y. had its rate increase by more than one percentage point.

Meanwhile, two metros hit hard by the housing crisis — Las Vegas-Paradise and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. — continue to struggle with 12.3 percent unemployment each. But this seems marginal when compared with El Centro, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz., both of which reported a staggering unemployment rate of nearly 30 percent. Milwaukee, Colorado Springs and Myrtle Beach, S.C. had a particularly rough year, each losing 4,000 jobs or more.

In terms of jobs actually gained, the New York, Los Angeles and Houston metro areas all expectedly turned out well, each with new job totals topping or nearing six digits. However, some smaller cities like Lafayette, La., Columbus, Ind. and Pascagoula, Miss. made the most promising improvements relative to their respective sizes.

Another big winner was Ohio, where metros like Columbus, Dayton, Akron and Cincinnati had unemployment rates decease by nearly 2 percent each. This echoes a noted statewide recovery that last month prompted the New York Times to ask whether federal stimulus money or the policies of Republican Gov. John Kasich should get the credit.

BLS will release its metro area data for September at the end of this month. Statistics broken down by state and region will be available on October 19.

Tags: infrastructurewashington, d.c.d.c.economyjobsstatshousing crisisbureau of labor statisticsunemployment ratejob growth